Categories
Boxing/UFC

The scene from a fight night in Nicaragua

Apr 25, 2020

Steve KimESPN

Various sporting events worldwide have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a boxing card at the Alexis Arguello Sports Complex in Managua, Nicaragua, promoted by former world titlist Rosendo Alvarez, was allowed to proceed Saturday — with some provisions that were put in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.

Though Nicaragua is one of the countries with no stay-at-home or social distancing measures in place, everyone was wearing a face mask inside the venue, as required by the Nicaragua Sports Commission. The commission expected a crowd of up to 800 fans, or 10% of the arena’s capacity. Only once the boxers were inside the ring did they take theirs off. Their trainers and other cornermen all wore masks throughout, as did everyone else around the ring, including the cameramen and photographers, who were on or near the ring apron. Same for the ringside officials, judges and referees.

Before entering the arena, everyone — including Nicaraguan legend and current WBA junior bantamweight world titlist Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez — was asked to wipe the bottom of their shoes, their body temperature was taken and a sanitizer product was sprayed on their hands. Even as he did interviews, Gonzalez kept his mask over his face.

Nicaragua is one of the few nations with live professional sports during the pandemic. Soccer, baseball and boxing have been conducted with fans in the stands. According to the Johns Hopkins pandemic tracking system, the country has only 12 detected cases of COVID-19 among its population, with three deaths.

A procession of police cadets came into the ring with various flags before the night’s main event to accompany Tamara Martinez, who sang the Nicaraguan national anthem. She was one of the few who was not wearing a face mask; the two rappers who led one of the main event boxers into the ring weren’t, either.

Fans were asked to be no closer than one meter — about 3¼ feet — from one another.

The whole night was a bit unusual — but it could be the new normal for the time being.

Fans keep social distance as a preventive measure against the coronavirus during a boxing event at the Alexis Arguello Sports Complex in Managua, Nicaragua, on Saturday. Jorge Torres/EPASpectators sit in the bleachers wearing masks and practice social distancing at the Alexis Arguello Sports Center on Saturday in Managua, Nicaragua. Nicaragua is one of the very few countries that allows sport events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getty ImagesHealth officers check spectators’ body temperature as they enter the arena. That was one of the requirements from the Nicaragua Sports Commission to allow fans inside the venue. Getty ImagesA worker mops the ring at the Alexis Arguello Sports Center in Managua, Nicaragua, before the start of the show. It was expected that 800 fans would be in attendance inside the 8,000-seat arena. Getty ImagesA doctor takes the body temperature of a fan arriving at the Alexis Arguello Sports Complex for the Ramiro Blanco vs. Robin Zamora lightweight battle. Jorge Torres/EPANicaraguan boxer Harvy Calero wears a face mask before his six-round bantamweight bout against Jordan Escobar at the Alexis Arguello Sports Center. Getty ImagesFighters wearing face masks get ready inside the locker rooms at the Alexis Arguello Sports Center in Managua, Nicaragua. Inti Ocon/Getty ImagesNicaraguan boxer Jordan Escobar wears a face mask during warm-ups in the locker room, before his bantamweight fight against Harvy Calero. Getty ImagesThe fightsZamora defeats Blanco … againRobin Zamora, left, defeated Ramiro Blanco by unanimous decision in a lightweight battle. Inti Ocon/Getty Images

Robin Zamora scored a hard-fought eighth-round decision over Ramiro Blanco in the main event. The pair had fought one another in their previous outings, with Zamora scoring a second-round knockout, but Blanco was much tougher this time around.

It was nonstop action to start the fight between Zamora and Blanco, who consistently threw punches as they worked in close quarters. Blanco (18-7-3, 10 KOs) was more than willing to exchange and he certainly landed his share of punches, but he was consistently beaten to the punch by Zamora (16-7, 8 KOs) who was a bit quicker down the middle with his straight left hands from the southpaw stance.

Zamora came out on top by the scores of 77-75, 78-74 and 77-75.

Fonseca wins when Aguilar quitsJunior welterweight Freddy Fonseca scored a fifth-round TKO over Alain Aguilar. Courtesy Levi Luna

Junior welterweight Freddy Fonseca (28-5-1, 19 KOs) was in control, steadily landing his long left crosses, and Alain Aguilar didn’t seem to be too much of a threat after the fourth round. But the fight had a rather bizarre ending when Aguilar refused to get off his stool at the beginning of the fifth round, and he was given a 10 count. The fight was ruled a fifth-round TKO for Fonseca.

Escalante stays unbeaten with KO victoryWelterweight Gabriel Escalante celebrates his KO victory over Mario Mairena. Courtesy Levi Luna

Welterweight hopeful Gabriel Escalante remained undefeated with a fifth-round KO victory over journeyman Mario Mairena. There wasn’t much sustained action in this contest, but Mairena (2-20-1, 1 KO) got docked a point for excessive clinching in the fourth round. In the fifth, a pair of right hands from the undefeated Escalante (13-0, 7 KOs), followed by a clean left hook to the body, sent Mairena to his knees and the fight was quickly waved off.

Castellon outpoints Gazo

The best fight of the undercard took place at the strawweight division between Eliezer Gazo (18-11-2, 3 KOs) and Byron Castellon (15-13, 3, 2 KOs), in a well-matched bout between two veteran fighters. While neither man possessed any noticeable punching power, they weren’t shy in letting their hands go, as they engaged in a fast-paced bout that saw them mix it up consistently.

After six rounds it was Castellon winning on all three cards by the scores of 59-55 over the game Gazo.

Perez KO’s Lara

In a scheduled six-round featherweight contest, Bryan Perez — who entered the ring without a face mask — scored a second-round stoppage of Lester Lara.

The taller Perez (12-11-1, 11 KOs) sent the southpaw Lara (16-11-2, 7 KOs) to the canvas with a left hook late in the second round. Lara was able to get back on his feet and continue but he was struck almost immediately by a right hand that sent him down for the second time just seconds before the bell and the bout was called off.

Sports report

Categories
Boxing/UFC

Nicaragua to host live boxing event with fans separated by 1 meter

Nicaragua will host a live boxing event on Saturday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Professional boxing will return at the Alexis Argüello Sports Center in Managua with an eight-fight card organized by Bufalo Boxing Promotions.

“Here in Nicaragua there is no quarantine,” said Ricardo Alvarez, former world champion and promoter of the event. “The government of Nicaragua and the Minister of Health have made a great effort so that the pandemic did not leave a mark on this country.”

The card will be headlined by an eight-round bout between Ramiro Blanco and Robin Zamora in the lightweight division, plus half a dozen six-rounders and a four-round opening fight.

“As an extra precaution, we are going to ask fans to not sit together, that they keep one meter of distance between them. And the commissioners, the doctors, the trainers are obviously going to have to wear masks, latex gloves. We have been lucky that the cases we have had have been few, and we all need to work, so we are making this effort,” Alvarez said.

“As a promoter of boxing, we have the responsibility to provide all the fans who go to the event with the necessary conditions for their safety. We will measure the temperature of the participants, commissioners and fans; there will be alcohol in gel, soap, water — the facilities are suitable for this event, and we will prioritize the safety and health of all.”

According to national authorities, Nicaragua has only 10 detected cases of COVID-19 among its population, of which at least eight are from outside the country. Two people died, according to reports.

Nicaragua is one of the few nations that have allowed the practice of professional sports during the pandemic. Soccer, baseball and boxing have been played even with fans in the stands. Belarus is another country where professional sports continue to be practiced, and preseason baseball games were underway Tuesday in South Korea.

Boxing commissions on American soil, in England, Mexico and Japan have declined to organize events.

ESPN Knockout will broadcast the fights in Latin America.

Sports report