Boxing returns to Las Vegas after coronavirus shutdown

The Top Rank Boxing fight card featuring a main event clash between U.S. Olympian Shakur Stevenson and Puerto Rico’s Felix Caraballo.

Live boxing returns to Las Vegas with strict health guidelines in place following a lengthy pause in action during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Hosted by leading promoter Top Rank Boxing, the sport’s comeback event will be held without fans in attendance at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Tuesday. The show is Top Rank’s first event in North America since February and is headlined by a bout between unbeaten WBO featherweight champion and U.S. Olympian Shakur Stevenson against Puerto Rico’s Felix Caraballo.

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The Nevada Athletic Commission allowed combat sports to return to the state earlier this month after halting all events on March 14 as the pandemic worsened. Top Rank officials worked with the commission to establish strict precautionary measures for the event, including extensive testing of all participants and mandatory quarantines at the venue hotel prior to fights.

“I would like to thank MGM Resorts and the Nevada State Athletic Commission for their assistance in helping to bring back world-class boxing,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We are all looking forward to a spectacular summer of live boxing across ESPN platforms. Shakur is among the best young talents I’ve ever promoted, and he is going to put on a show on June 9.”

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The comeback event hit a snag earlier this week after boxer Mikaela Mayer was forced to drop out after testing positive for COVID-10. Mayer was originally scheduled to co-headline the fight card.

Top Rank has a second boxing event planned for Thursday night. The promotion is aiming to hold a total of 10 events at MGM Grand through mid-July, according to The Telegraph.

Boxing’s comeback will occur just days after Ultimate Fighting Championship staged its UFC 250 pay-per-view event in Nevada. The card took place without fans at the UFC Apex facility near company headquarters.

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The Top Rank boxing event begins at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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