Eddie Hearn talks backup dates for Anthony Joshua, May events due to coronavirus

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The boxing world continues to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Matchroom Boxing canceled three events that were scheduled through April.

There's no timetable as to when the world will resume its ordinary activities again and when we'll see the sweet science return. However, that hasn't stopped Eddie Hearn from coming up with contingency plans for those cards and more, including Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev, in case he gets the green light to move forward on them.

"We got dates ready for the rescheduling of all those events," Hearn told Sky Sports on Wednesday. "Yesterday, we announced that March 28 (David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly) was canceled, April 4 with Lewis Ritson against (Miguel) Vasquez will move to June 27. Right now, Terry Harper against Natasha Jonas (scheduled for April 24), will also move to June."

After those cards, three significant fight cards that could shape the heavyweight division are currently set for May and June. On May 2, in Manchester, England, Dillian Whyte is set to meet Alexander Povetkin with an undisputed lightweight title clash between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano as the co-main event. Then, former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is supposed to face Dereck Chisora on May 23 in London. To cap things off, unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is supposed to face Kubrat Pulev at the 70,000-seat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. 

Hearn is skeptical those cards will go on as scheduled. But if those cards don't happen as planned, then boxing could get backlogged.

"Those May dates are the next ones at risk," Hearn said. "We probably got a two-week window here where we will be at the mercy of the government to let us know what their plans are, in particular how this virus continues to spread and at what rate as well. Right now, May is I'd say safe. May is going ahead, but we also understand we have contingencies in place to move Dillian Whyte to the middle of June, to move Dereck Chisora and (Oleksandr) Usyk back to the end of June, early July and of course, Anthony Joshua, who is due to go June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, (which) really runs on the Premier League now. 

"Because if the Premier League extends their season, the Spurs will need their stadium," he continued. "We already have a reserved date that we are discussing with the Spurs of July 25 for Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. If we are talking about no boxing until then, this sport is going to start to struggle significantly."

The Matchroom Boxing USA president added: "We're devastated to have to move those three shows which could end up being five shows, seven shows. We lost two shows in Italy recently. We just lost a show with Matchroom Boxing USA in Maryland with Regis Prograis against Maurice Hooker. There's going to be a big backlog as we move hopefully (forward)."

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