With the world pretty much devoid of sports events because of the coronavirus pandemic, boxing resumed in Nicaragua on Saturday night with a televised eight-fight card in front of a live, though sparse audience in Managua.
Promoter Rosendo Alvarez, a former two-time world champion, had dismissed the threat of the virus, and even offered free tickets.
Although that saw only about a tenth of the 8,000 seats in the Alexis Argoello gym with officials refusing to announce attendance figures.
The fights were also broadcast on Nicaragua's state-owned Canal 6 and ESPN Latin America.
Alvarez said he signed up the 16 local boxers for the card because they needed to work.
Alvarez said his organization was taking protective measures at the bouts. Spectators were told to stay at least 2 meters (six-and-a-half feet) from the ring, and medics checked temperatures when they entered. Face masks were required.
Boxers also had to have “a rigorous medical checkup,” Alvarez said. But he said there were no tests for the coronavirus, because “none of them have symptoms nor have they gotten sick in training.”
The Nicaraguan government insists the country has barely been touched by COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health reports only 11 positive cases and the three deaths.
Meanwhile, in neighboring or nearby countries the regional Central American Integration System has reported roughly 13,000 cases and about 500 deaths.