he British Boxing Board of Control has announced a complete shutdown of events under its jurisdiction until the end of the month because of the surge in coronavirus cases.

The body, which oversees professional boxing in the country, said the situation would be reviewed at the end of January, but in the interim will force the postponement of several major fights, including Josh Kelly‘s bout against David Avanesyan for the European welterweight title.

BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith said: “Following the increase in Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom and the effects such increases has on the NHS and the work of the board medical officers, it has been decided that no tournaments under the jurisdiction of the British Boxing Board of Control will take place in January 2021.

“A further review by the board’s medical panel and stewards will take place later in January in relation to tournaments from February onwards.”

The onset of the pandemic led to boxing being suspended from last March until July, and most events since then have taken place behind closed doors.

Anthony Joshua’s successful defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles at the SSE Arena, Wembley, was held in front of 1,000 spectators last month after the UK Government relaxing lockdown restrictions in London.

However, the emergence of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK has seen a rapid elevation in case numbers, with a further 57,725 reported on Saturday.

The BBBofC indicated amid the first nationwide lockdown that it was wary of overburdening the NHS at a time when emergency services were under immense pressure.

Additional reporting by PA. 

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