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Top Rank to hold biweekly fight cards beginning June 9

Updated May 18, 2020 - 1:42 pm

Las Vegas-based promotional firm Top Rank is planning to hold biweekly fight cards at a local MGM Resorts International property tentatively beginning June 9, chairman Bob Arum said Monday.

The cards will consist of four or five fights apiece and will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout June and July.

The fights will air on ESPN’s family of networks as part of its multiyear agreement with Top Rank. The exact location has not been finalized but will probably be a ballroom or convention room.

Fighters in line to compete on the cards include WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson and unified junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez. An official announcement could come next week.

“It’s not going to be optimum … but we’re going to do it in a medically, scientifically approved way,” Arum said. “Everybody in that room will have been tested, will be currently tested and will be coronavirus free.”

Arum said the promotion has worked closely with the Nevada State Athletic Commission to establish requisite safety parameters for competition. Fighters will be tested for the coronavirus upon their arrival to Las Vegas and relegated to safe quarters ahead of their fight dates. They can conclude their training at Top Rank’s gym and will be tested multiple times before they compete.

Their cornermen will also be subjected to testing, along with the broadcasters, technicians and anyone else on site.

“This is going to be as safe as possible,” Arum said. “You couldn’t ask for more safety as far as the coronavirus.”

Arum initially thought that any prospective events would be limited to boxers already in the country, but he said Monday that fighters from other countries could compete so long as they have valid visas. Australian twins Jason and Andrew Moloney are slated to appear on the cards at some point, and Top Rank is contacting fighters from other countries as well.

The promotion also will consider holding cards in other states — such as California or Texas — beginning in August, but Las Vegas will first have the opportunity to welcome back boxing.

“We’re going to do as big of fights as we can, and we’ll go on from there,” Arum said. “Fighters live to fight. That’s their livelihood. … Our guys are fielding calls around the clock from fighters who want to come on and fight on the cards.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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