Frampton fears virus could dash boxersق€™ dreams of glory

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AFP/ London

Carl Frampton’s bid to become the first Irish boxer to be crowned world champion at three different weights is on hold but his greater concern is for the future of the sport globally. The 33-year-old said the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic means he will be lucky if he gets to fight WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring this year.

The bout had been due to take place in Frampton’s hometown of Belfast, in Northern Ireland, on June 13. Despite the frustrations due to the enforced delay, Frampton says he is in a better position than many other boxers, who rely on “bums on seats” to make money.“My genuine concern for boxers is less than 1% of fighters globally are able to live comfortably without having to fight on a regular basis,” he said. “I know a lot who live purse to purse and on sponsorship deals which are small, local businesses.”The former super bantamweight and featherweight world champion says those sponsors can no longer support the boxers due to the financial hit from the shutdown. “They are pulling out because they can’t afford to do it anymore as they have to pay other bills,” he said. “I feel privileged and lucky that I am in a position where I am not relying on the next purse to eat again. It sounds harsh but it’s true.”Frampton, who is actively involved in encouraging more integrated schooling between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, says even some at the top are struggling. “There are world champions who find it hard to sell tickets and rely on being a hit on TV,” he said.“I am in a good position as I fought in some big fights and built up some money and I can dip into that at the moment. Hand on heart I feel genuinely sorry for these guys on the breadline for they have dreams and aspirations themselves. My genuine concern is they will have to give up on their dream of becoming champions.”Frampton says one potential way those lower down the food chain in boxing could earn money would be through fans paying a subscription to watch streamed fights. “You don’t want a sport to die,” he said. “Say for instance social distancing is put in place for one to two years then boxing could take a huge hit. There are people better positioned like promoters to know about how realistic it is to stream fights online and charging a smaller fee to watch live boxing again. At least boxers who are really struggling will get paid.”

2021 world Championships moved to BelgradeThe 2021 Men’s World boxing Championships have been moved to Belgrade from New Delhi, the International boxing Association (AIBA) said. In a statement, AIBA said it had terminated New Delhi’s contract after it did not pay an agreed host fee, meaning that India will have to pay a cancellation penalty of $500,000 (461,366 euros). The boxing Federation of India (BFI) blamed AIBA for its inability to pay the host fee, saying that AIBA’s bank account in Lausanne was “frozen”.“AIBA could not resolve these issues,” Indian media quoted the BFI as saying. “We have reasons to believe that the decision to change the venue of WCH-2021 was taken in haste without due consultation with BFI … the penalty that is imposed is shocking and surprising.”The BFI added that it feels it has no obligation to pay any cancellation or penalty fees to AIBA and is working towards “an amicable solution”. The AIBA was last year stripped by the (IOC) of its right to run boxing at the Tokyo Games due to serious mismanagement. Boxing competition at the Tokyo Games is instead being organised by the IOC boxing Task Force.

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