INDIO (CNS) – California’s first boxing card since the coronavirus outbreak in March will be held Friday at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio without a live audience.
The California State Athletic Commission approved emergency regulations this week allowing for professional boxing, mixed martial arts and other combat sports to resume in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The regulations call for the creation of a “quarantine bubble” around each licensed event. All fighters, their training teams and event personnel, including referees, judges and staff will be tested prior to the event and remain in isolation until its conclusion.
The regulations spell out requirements for physical distancing protocols, the use of personal protective equipment, infectious disease advance screening, and testing, cleaning and disinfecting of hotel accommodations and sporting venues, along with general event operations as determined necessary by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and applicable local health officials, in consultation with the commission’s Advisory Committee on Medical and Safety Standards.
Fighters, along with their licensed cornermen, are required to travel separately from other people present at the event location unless they are part of the same household.
The fighters and their cornermen are required to keep at least a 6- foot distance from other people in “traffic areas” where they are staying and at the event venue.
Everyone at weigh-ins must maintain at least 6 feet of distance with others and wear face coverings and disposable gloves. Everyone other than boxers are required during fights to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth.
Judges will be seated ringside behind a plexiglass, clear, shatterproof and impermeable barrier or provided with a clear face shield or clear safety goggles with a commission staff-approved face covering, provided by the promoter, that will protect them from coming into contact with bodily fluids expelled from the ring.
Judges shall be seated at least 6 feet from each other unless the executive officer determines, prior to the event, that physical distancing of more than six 6 feet is required.
“This is a tremendous safety and mitigation strategy,” said athletic commission Chair John Carvelli. “CSAC has developed tactics through this regulation that focus on prevention, testing, and, in the event of a positive COVID-19 test, isolation.
“CSAC is doing everything it can to ensure the likelihood of transmission is low.”
Vergil Ortiz Jr. of Riverside (15-0, 15 knockouts) will defend his fringe World Boxing Association gold welterweight championship against Colombian Samuel Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) in the scheduled 12-round main event of the five-bout car, which will begin at 5 p.m. and be streamed on DAZN.
The fight was initially planned for March but not held because of the coronavirus outbreak.