Top Rank flying Inoue to U.S. now for April fight


With the coronavirus spreading across the world, the boxing industry is taking precautions with its upcoming events.

“Obviously, everybody in boxing who does international fights is concerned,” said Bob Arum, who’s company, Top Rank, has fights that are taking place abroad and also involve boxers who are flying in from foreign countries.

One would be WBA and IBF bantamweight champion, Naoya Inoue, from Japan, who is scheduled to face WBO titlist, John Riel Casimero, on April 25 in Las Vegas. Earlier this week, Arum met with representatives of Inoue to discuss how they would handle things in light of current events.

“We’re waiting to get his visa, which should be next week,” Arum told ESPN on Thursday afternoon, “and we’re going to immediately bring him and his family to Las Vegas.”

Then there is Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong, who will challenge WBA and IBF junior welterweight champion, Josh Taylor in Glasgow, Scotland, on May 2.

After speaking to Khongsong’s promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, Arum said: “We got him tested in Thailand, he’s fine. We’re bringing him to Scotland immediately, tomorrow, because we want him there and so forth.”

The international health crisis has certainly had an impact on the decision-making in boxing. Several weeks ago, Top Rank had a card featuring Jose Ramirez and Viktor Postol for Feb. 1 in China, canceled because of the coronavirus. That matchup has since been rescheduled for May 9 in Fresno, California. For the time being, most plans for international events are being tabled.

“We still have a commitment to China, obviously we can’t go there,” Arum said. “We have somebody here now, a promoter from Indonesia, well, we can’t contemplate doing anything there. So we’re limiting ourselves to events in the UK.”

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