Earlier today the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and Japan Boxing Association held a meeting to discuss the on going global issue. Sadly the discussion ended any hope of boxing returning to Japan in April, as had been hoped previously.
The meeting today saw the April 5th East Japan Rookie of the Year card being postponed, a show that was set to be streamed on YouTube next weekend, and the April 26th West Japan Rookie of the Year, which was set to be at the Green Tsuda gym.
The plan isn't to cancel the Rookie of the Year event, or any other traditional events, but to chance their time table for them. This means that the qualification events will not be pencilled to be in July or August with the regional finals being pencilled in for December and the All Japan final for February or March, next year.
The meeting also saw an agreement that fighters who turned 37 before being able to compete in Rookie of the Year will be allowed to compete, bending the retirement rules for fighters.
What is currently unclear is whether that change will apply to other fighters, notable former world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成], who was scheduled to fight on May 10th, 2 days before his 37th birthday, but now won't be able to.
Takayama's issue isn't related to the Rookie of the Year events, but is still a related issue, as the proposed May 2nd date for boxing to begin returning to Japan on a normal scheduled has now been pushed back to May 15th, 3 days after Takayama's 37th birthday.
The first show, now, set for the return will be Slugfest 14 on May 19th.
As is always the case with these updates, they are subject to change based on the ever developing situation in regards to an ever changing global event.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association began a campaign dubbed "Save Japan Boxing", to help protect the sport in the country from the sweeping global issue that is now effecting pretty much everyone in one way or another.
The campaign will be pushed heavily as part of the April 5th East Japan Rookie of the Year show in Tokyo, which as previously reported will be shown on YouTube for free through the A-sign boxing channel, to make up for the fact it will not have spectators in the venue.
Those that follow us on twitter will see us retweeting the live link for that event when it becomes available. This show will begin at mid-day local time, and will feature what is essentially 2 events, with each event featuring 8 bouts. Giving us 16 fights during the day.
As well as the YouTube show on April 5th there will also be a t-shirt made available, as seen above, to help raise funds. From what we understand these will be offered to fans who "tip" or "fund" the event, and will be signed by Japanese world champions.
There will also be a video released to "Save Japan Boxing" lead by some of the biggest names in Japanese boxing.
All of that will obviously be pushed with the hashtag "#SaveJapanBoxing" which is being tagged in English, and is being run with the English phrase through the entire campaign.
As well as the April 5th show there is also a scheduled April 26th show, for the West Japan Rookie of the Year. Again there is no spectators, and at the moment it's unclear if this will be streamed live or not.
We ask, all of our readers, to do what they can to tune in to the April 5th card and do what they can to enjoy some boxing. Whilst it might not be elite level action the Rookie of the Year shows are great fun and given the absolute lack of boxing world wide at the moment this is one of the rare times the boxing world can get behind a single event. Given none of the fighters are well known it's a great opportunity for fans to go in "blind" and not have their personal opinions dictating things and instead just enjoy the sport for what it is.
As this is a changing story please see April's Rookie of the Year events postponed, boxing's Japanese return delayed for an update
Earlier this week we happily reported that the A-Sign YouTube channel would be live streaming the East Japan Rookie of the Year show on 5th show from Korakuen Hall, showing the 16 fights on the card. Yesterday we saw the West Japan answer to that with their own Rookie of the Year card now set for April.
The West Japan Rookie of the Year card will, like the April 5th show, be a show behind closed doors and will take place on April 26th at the Green Tsuda Gym, rather than at a more notable venue.
The reason the gym was picked was due to the track record of the gym, the ability to have electrolyzed water, it's size and the general anti-virus policies of the company.
Notably the bout order is expected to be changed from the usual Rookie running order, of going up the weight classes as the show goes on. Instead the schedule will be run in an order to make things easier on the fighters and gym members, so expect a full gym's participants to fight, then another gyms.
Interestingly there are 17 bouts set for this show, with a 8 fight part an a 9 fight part. At the time of writing it has yet to be confirmed if this will be streamed, though the hope is likely that it will be shown, some how.
Of course other than the two Rookie of the Year shows there won't be any boxing in Japan in April due to coronavirus.
We've known since Friday that the A-Sign YouTube channel would be showing the fights from the April 5th show at Korakuen Hall, which will be a 16 fight East Japan Rookie of the Year card from Korakuen Hall in an empty venue to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus. What was unclear was whether this would be a live broadcast or just the recordings of the bouts. Today, we have been informed the show will be a live broadcast!
Interestingly it's also now reported that the show might be one of two allowed in Japan in April, despite a general suspension of the sport in the country.
There is also plans to have a show in Kansai on either April 25th or April 26th, which would also be an empty venue event for the West Japan Rookie of the Year, and would be held at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.
The council that has been set up to navigate Japanese boxing through this tough and unexpected period are expected to reconvene on March 23rd to look at future events. This meeting could end up being incredibly important to what happens to fights going into May and June, and what can be done at boxing events to limit the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced that the suspension of boxing in the country was going to be suspended, surprisingly nobody at all.
The sport, which was has been essentially on an hiatus since the end of February, with no shows at all in March, is of course being badly affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus, which has now began to hit sporting events globally.
This is actually the second extension of the suspension in Japan. The first, which was announced on February 27th, came in to effect from March 1st for the entire month. On March 5th they extended the suspension to April 15th, pending today's meeting which has seen the suspension being extended to the end of April.
At the moment it's very much up in the air as to whether we'll see any boxing in Japan in May, though meetings will be held in April to discuss the possibility of extending the suspension further, and obviously it depends on the continued outbreak of the virus, which has continued to grow globally.
Despite the extended ban the East Japan Rookie of the Year show on April 5th will still go ahead, but will be held behind closed doors with the bouts being shown free on YouTube through the A-Sign YouTube channel.
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