Frank Warren slams panic buying and feels ‘helpless’ during coronavirus outbreak

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I’m really eager for people to make informed decisions amid this crisis. The British Boxing Board of Control hadn’t really considered contracts or fighter’s wages when they suspended events.

A fighter doesn’t get paid when he doesn’t fight. I had a good conversation with Robert Smith, the Board’s General Secretary, when he rang me earlier this week to say they were shutting down boxing.

There’s no safeguards for fighters if shows are cancelled. They’re not on salaries and they’re self-employed. We all need to be mindful of that and find a way to address that it. The whole thing is a mess for everyone. I know it has to be done, but what about the fighters’ livelihoods? 

We had to be realistic with Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce and Josh Taylor’s fight in Glasgow. With the board saying no events and other sports shutting down, it felt like postponing was the only responsible solution.

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Fortunately we were able to get a new date for Daniel and Joe announced right away and I know they’ll both be champing at the bit to get out and show what they can do on July 11th. That’s four months away, so we’re hoping everything will be able to go ahead by then.

These are hard times for everyone, including for the boxing world as a whole but in particular for fighters who just want to work. We understand the need for the government to act but the uncertainty is a real challenge. As a promoter, I feel a bit helpless. 

The idea of running fights behind closed doors has been floated but my big problem with that is not only that you lose all the revenue from the gate – and that is big money – but the atmosphere is completely gone.

I am really concerned about the younger fighters further down the card, too, because their careers are being affected. They’re just starting out in boxing and need to be getting out regularly for the experience. It’s vital. So if we do any boxing behind closed doors in the next few months, I think it’ll be for them. 

In everything we do now though, we can only be guided by science. We’ll continue to follow government advice and hope to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel sooner rather than later.

We’re in the age of jet-setting and this virus has spread quick. It’s going to take a big national and even international effort to put this thing into reverse.

We’re all in this together, and what I can’t accept is people panic buying. That needs to be sorted out. I’ve got a grandkid who is just one year old and we couldn’t find any Calpol for him this week.

It’s nuts and it’s dangerous, making a bad situation much, much worse. We’re a proud country with a long history of helping our neighbours out – I hope we dig deep and show that same Great British spirit over the coming weeks and months.

I know that if we do that we’ll start to see life going back to normal quicker than if we just say ‘sod the rest’.

With Carl Frampton attempting to become a three weight world champion when he takes on Jamel Herring and the heavyweight blockbuster between Dubois and Joyce, we at Queensberry can’t wait to get up and running in 2020 and give this country something to celebrate. In the meantime, however, we need people to stay safe and look after one another.

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