Professional boxing poised to return in Las Vegas on June 9

(Credit: Getty Images)

Leading boxing promoter Bob Arum is planning to stage a series of fight cards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, over the coming months, continuing the return of live sports amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The fights, which are pending approval of the Nevada Athletic Commission, would begin on June 9 and 11, with ESPN televising both cards. The opening of the MGM Grand and other Las Vegas hotels is expected in the first week of June.

The identities of the boxers will be announced once all approvals have been given. The plan is to have twice-weekly shows in June and July.

No fans will be allowed while all participants will be tested for the coronavirus at least twice during fight week, including boxers the night before they fight.

According to the Associated Press, fighters and cornermen will be housed on a “bubble” floor at the MGM Grand, and only allowed to eat at an approved restaurant in the hotel or to train at the Top Rank gym.

Fights are likely to take place in a convention area or ballroom at the MGM Grand, rather than the 16,000-seat MGM Grand Garden.

“Our protocols will be much more stringent than UFC had in Florida,” said Top Rank chief executive Arum, referring to the three positive tests suffered by the Ultimate Fighting Championship prior to UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dana White’s UFC is also looking to hold bouts in Las Vegas on May 30 and June 6.

“Once we get those fights in and UFC gets its initial fights in, both of us will ask for additional dates,” Arum said. “The key was getting enough testing, and we’ve got plenty of testing in Nevada to hold our events.”