Earlier today saw the latest meeting of the "New Coronavirus Countermeasures Liaison Council", which was set up last year by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the Japanese Professional Boxing Association (JPBA). Following the meeting it seemed like there was a lot of positive news coming out in regards to the future of Japanese boxing.
One of the biggest stories coming out of the event is the later finishing time of shows. Over the last few months boxing events have had to finish no later than 8PM in a number of regions. Now however the finishing time has been pushed back to 1 hours after the state of emergency was lifted in various parts of the nation. It's not a huge change on the outside looking in, but it's a step towards normalcy in the sport.
Another step towards normality will be the fact ring girls will be back in the ring from April! The ring girls haven't been allowed in the ring since boxing returned last year, though they have been allowed to do their work outside of the ring. Before being to get back in to the ring they will be required to have a PCR test.
On the subject of PCR tests the decision was made to allow them to be done the day before a fight, for most fighters, rather than 2 days before. This however will not apply to world title fights where they will take place 2 days before a bout.
Another positive sign from today's meeting came from a comment given by Tsuyoshi Yasukochi in regards to foreign fighters competing in Japan. He stated "I don't think there is a problem with entering the country, but the isolation period will be a problem in the boxing".
Although not a definitive statement on the future of international fighters fighting in Japan, it certainly seems like the door is set to be opened to fighters from abroad. Albeit it with a lengthy isolation periodas we saw last year.
Earlier today it was announced by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) that they have secured a medical facility to carry out PCR tests, and to be stand by for fighters after events.
The hospital that has been secured is the Makita General Hospital, in Kamata.
Earlier today the JBC Secretary General Tsuyoshi Yasukochi, and the JPBA Secretary general Shosei Nitta as well as Misako Promotion's head honcho Takashi Misako, visited the hospital to look at it's facilities.
The need to secure a hospital was decided on a little while by the JPBA and JBC, who felt that doing PCR tests at a medical facility was the way forward and had been trying to secure one that could be used long term, which is exactly what's going to happen here.
The first boxing event dependent on the hospital will be the Misako promoted Diamond Glove event on February 11th, which will take place at Korakuen Hall. The hospital will be used for the PCR tests for that event.
The hospital, which will be open from February 9th, has 5 operating rooms, 2 CT machines and 2 MRI machines, as well as a multi-purpose room for the weigh in and PCR test.
Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) held their first board meeting of the new year, doing so online. It was there that several things were discussed including this year's Rookie of the Year tournament, the final to last years Rookie of the Year, cancellation subsidies and the formation of a new liaison council.
In regards to the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, which we know will be held on February 21st, the plan is to not allow spectators at the venue, due to Covid19. For fans wanting to watch however the event will be shown live on G+.
In regards to the 2021 version of the tournament, there will be a delay to the start of the tournament, and like last year's tournament the All Japan finals are now expected to take place in February, albeit February 2022.
Both of those are obviously due to Covid19 and we suspect the plan is to try and rest the schedule in 2022 to try and end that tournament in December, as we've seen the past few years.
At the moment the JPBA provide a maximum of ¥150,000 as a cancellation fee, to cover the costs of promoters who have booked venues before an event is cancelled. This is a subsidy to help subsidise promoters during the Covid19 crisis. Going forward the local distract associations will be responsible for the subsidies, with the East Japan Association announcing that they have decided to continue providing the payment for the foreseeable future.
The JPBA also announced that they would establish a gang exclusion liaison council, which will work with the police to try and keep gangs away from boxing. At the moment it's undecided when this council will be officially launched, but it is expected to come in the near future.
Earlier today the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) held their later held their latest meeting of the coronavirus countermeasure liaison council following the Japanese government issuing a state of emergency in and around the Tokyo area.
The areas affected are the Tokyo Metropolitan area and the Prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba.
The council took the position that boxing needs to try and show self restraint, though haven't gone as far as they did last year, where boxing was completely stopped. Instead the plan is for boxing to be allowed, but for events to finish by 8PM if fans are are in attendance in the areas affected, and the hope being that even if there are no fans events should still be done by 8PM if possible.
Interestingly it also seems that gym are also expected to close at 8PM as well, in the areas affected.
Shosei Nitta, the JPBA General Secretary, spoke about the success of current measures and stated "We resumed the shows in July and no virus-infected person has appeared at the match venue. We have a track record."
It was also noted that a promoter will need to secure the services and space of a medical institution, typically a local hospital, or shows won't be allowed to go ahead.
Rather notably a fighter who has agreed a fight in the region affected by the state of emergency, but decides they don't want to fight due to health and safety concerns are allowed to pull out of the event without repercussions. Typically this would be a breach of contract, but with the current situation as it is, there will be some leniency.
The restrictions, such as when an event can finish, will last through to February 7th, when the state of emergency is scheduled to be lifted. This means only 7 events are currently affected by the changes. The first of those will be a show at Korakuen Hall on January 14th, which will finish by 8PM and will have fans.
The JBC also announced that a male fighter in his 20 from a gym in Kanagawa has tested positive for Covid19. They are quarantining at home and haven't been to their gym lately, and the gym is currently open.
It's worth noting that the government have now put limits on attendances, with either 50% of the venue, or a maximum of 5,000, allowed at an event.
Earlier today the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC) Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) held their latest meeting to try and keep on top of the Covid19 situation in boxing.
Since boxing returned to Japan the chief seconds has had to have a Covid19 test, though a new change that will be brought in next year will see both sub-seconds also needing to under-go testing, with either a PCR test or anti-gen tests being done . These are expected to be taken at the time of the weigh in, or the day before.
An even bigger change is that a promoter will need to get medical institutions to agree to work with them to be able to hold an event. Due to the virus affecting a growing number of people, and hospital beds, and medical resources running low, promoters have been struggling to get assistance of medical personnel and ambulances. Going forward if a promoter can't get the medical backing needed the show will have to be cancelled.
These rules will both come into play in early 2021.
The meeting also saw those speak about the Supreme Court in Japan ruling that they would be re-hearing the case against Iwao Hakamada,. The 84 year old, who was sentenced to death in 1968, is a former boxer who has long plead his innocence for the murder of his former boss, his wife and two children. The JBC and JPBA have worked tirelessly over the years to try and get Hakamada a retrial, so that he can be have a chance to prove his innocence after more than 50 years on death row.
The news of Hakamada's retrial has seen international attention with news sites around the world reporting the news, which saw Hakamada's lawyer, Yoshiyuki Todate, share his relief at the ruling on his blog, posting:
"The fact that a path for the resumption of a retrial was not cut off is very welcome. My hands are still shaking after hearing this. I'm really, really glad."
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