Coronavirus updates: Top Rank postpones two boxing events set to take place in New York City

The fallout effects of the coronavirus outbreak has extended to the sport of boxing with Saturday’s ESPN card from the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York officially postponed. 

Top Rank founder Bob Arum, the promoter of the card headlined by Shakur Stevenson’s WBO featherweight title defense against Miguel Marriaga, told The Athletic on Thursday that the card would go on without the public earlier in the day, but the determination was made later that the event could not. 

“The health and safety of the fighters and their teams, and everyone involved in the promotion of these events, necessitated taking this step,” Top Rank said in a statement. “We thank everyone for their understanding, and we will continue to work with our broadcast/venue partners and state and local officials to decide when the time is right to return.”

The decision comes off the heels of multiple developments Thursday night, which included all professional sports leagues in America suspending action until further notice. UFC is moving forward with a Fight Night card in Brasilia, Brazil, on Saturday headlined by Kevin Lee and Charles Oliveira without fans in the arena.

A trio of boxing cards scheduled to emanate from a casino in Montreal have also been canceled by promoter Eye of the Tiger Management. The first card was scheduled for Thursday evening, headlined by middleweights Steve Butler and Marcos Reyes, and was called off hours after the fighters weighed in. 

The coronavirus previously forced Arum to reschedule a Feb. 1  junior welterweight title bout in China between unified champion Jose Ramirez and Viktor Postol. The bout will now take place on May 9 in Ramirez’s hometown of Fresno, California. 

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