The Latest: 2 Madison Square Garden boxing cards called off

Sports

FILE – In this April 9, 2019, file photo, Juventus’ Daniele Rugani answers questions during a press conference at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Italian soccer club Juventus announced on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, that defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for new coronavirus. Rugani, who is also an Italy international, is the first player in Italy’s top soccer division to test positive but Juventus stressed that the 25-year-old has no symptoms. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s affect on sports around the globe (all times EDT):

10 p.m.

Two boxing cards at Madison Square Garden have been called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A few hours after announcing the fights would proceed without crowds, promoter Bob Arum said Thursday they are off because there was no way to test the fighters themselves for the virus.

Arum’s Top Rank company had planned to show off two of its young cards, with Shakur Stevenson defending his featherweight title on Saturday in an ESPN fight and Ireland’s Michael Conlan fighting on St. Patrick’s Day on the ESPN+ streaming service.

“We thought we had solved the problem by saying no audience, but then the question became whether any of the fighters had the virus,’’ Arum said. “There was no way to get testing for them so we agreed with the New York Athletic Commission that the fights would be called off.’’

Unlike most sports organizations, the UFC is still planning to proceed with its full slate of upcoming events, albeit with some serious modifications.

___

9:50 p.m.

UFC President Dana White said Thursday that the promotion will hold its show Saturday in Brasilia, Brazil, with no fans in Nilson Nelson Gymnasium. The UFC’s show at London’s O2 Arena next Saturday, March 21, is scheduled to proceed as planned, with fans in attendance.

The UFC then will move its next two shows to its new UFC Apex complex in Las Vegas, where the promotion has a small arena used for filming television shows and online content. The two fight cards initially were scheduled for March 28 in Columbus, Ohio, and April 11 in Portland, Oregon.

The UFC’s next pay-per-view show is scheduled for April 18 at Madison Square Garden featuring lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov against longtime challenger Tony Ferguson. The duo has been scheduled to fight four previous times, but the fight was scrapped each time for various reasons.

9:45 p.m.

While Baylor coach Scott Drew understands the decision to cancel the NCAA Tournament, he said Thursday night that he is “overwhelmingly disappointed” that the No. 5 Bears won’t have the opportunity to finish “arguably the best season in program history.”

The Bears (26-4) were the Big 12 runner-ups in the regular season behind No. 1 Kansas, and spent five consecutive weeks as the nation’s top-ranked team before a home loss to the Jayhawks last month.

Baylor was likely going to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, something Drew said his team had worked for all season.

“To have that opportunity abruptly taken away by something out of our control is devastating for our team, coaches and fans,” Drew said. “At the same time, we will keep perspective on life’s greater challenges, continue to focus on using our platform to honor God, and we’ll keep everyone affected by this situation in our thoughts and prayers.”

___

9:35 p.m.

Horse racing is continuing to operate in North America and abroad without fans in the stands.

Races at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields in California, Aqueduct in New York, Gulfstream Park in Florida, Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Laurel Park in Maryland and Turfway Park in Kentucky will go on without spectators. The upcoming Dubai World Cup will be held at an empty Meydan Racecourse on March 28. Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, says when it opens for racing again in April there will not be fans allowed in.

Churchill Downs said preparations to hold the Kentucky Derby on May 2 are up in the air. According to a statement from track officials: “With the event still seven weeks away, a decision will be made closer to that date with respect to postponing the event until later in the year, using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities.”

___

8:10 p.m.

Defending women’s national champion Baylor was on a plane on the tarmac in Waco, Texas, preparing to leave Thursday for the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, when coach Kim Mulkey got a call from athletic director Mack Rhoades.

The No. 3 Lady Bears went into a holding pattern for about a half-hour and never got off the ground after the Big 12 men’s and women’s tournaments were canceled.

The No. 5 Baylor men, who spent five weeks at No. 1 this season and set a Big 12 record with 23 consecutive wins, were already in Kansas City, where they had been scheduled to play Thursday.

The NCAA later canceled its men’s and women’s tournaments, where both Baylor teams were likely going to be No. 1 seeds. The Lady Bears were set to host first- and second-round games.

“These are unprecedented circumstances, and it’s just much bigger than athletics,” Rhoades said. “I think the right decisions have been made.”

Rhoades said he felt for all of the players whose seasons suddenly ended, and had spoken to both coach Scott Drew and Mulkey.

“I think the first (thing) was I’m sorry. I’m sorry because both both had such great seasons,” Rhoades said, when asked what he told them. “The decision is much bigger than me, or certainly any one person, but you just feel bad.”

___

7:58 p.m.

Little League International has recommended that its leagues “exercise an abundance of caution and implement a temporary suspension of all league activities until no earlier than April 6.”

Little League International operates more than 6,500 programs in more than 84 countries.

___

7:35 p.m.

US Sailing has advised all American Olympic-class sailors who are training in Europe to return home and resume training domestically. The move came after the 470 World Championships in Spain were postponed until officials can re-evaluate the situation in April.

“We strategically kept training boats stateside, so we will go home to train efficiently on our own,” Olympic head coach Luther Carpenter said.

The postponement of the 470 World Championships and possible changes to the 2020 Finn Gold Cup in May will impact the U.S. Olympic Trials. US Sailing said it will re-evaluate the selection procedures for the Olympic team.

___

7:25 p.m.

USA Cycling is recalling its athletes, coaches and support staff from locations abroad and curtailing all international travel for teams and staff members as the national governing body responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the country’s elite cyclists train in Europe, where the track cycling world championships were recently conducted.

The organization also said that the collegiate BMX national championships April 4-5 have been postponed, but that the remainder of its national championship schedule will continue as planned.

The biggest events on the upcoming schedule are the road, time trial and criterium national championships scheduled for June 18-21 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and mountain bike nationals July 7-12 in Winter Park, Colorado. Both are crucial races for determining the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympics.

___

7:10 p.m.

Formula One organizers canceled the season-opening Australian Grand Prix hours ahead of the first official practice sessions because of concern over the spreading coronavirus.

The sport’s governing body, FIA, issued a joint statement with F1 and the Australian Grand Prix to confirm the cancellation of the race. It followed McLaren’s decision to withdraw after one of its team members tested positive for the virus.

The statement says discussions between F1 and the other nine team principals “concluded with a majority view of the teams that the race should not go ahead.”

There had been two practice sessions scheduled Friday, with qualifying Saturday for Sunday’s GP. No fans had been allowed into the Albert Park circuit on Friday morning.

___

7 p.m.

Cavaliers star forward Kevin Love is committing $100,000 toward helping arena workers in Cleveland who were impacted by the shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Love announced his intentions to make the donation through the Kevin Love Fund on Instagram.

Love, who has been very open about his struggles with anxiety, said he appreciates how the outbreak can be “extremely overwhelming” to people and that the suspension of the NBA season has caused a “sudden life shift” for workers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse — home of the Cavs.

The team announced plans to financially help staff during the interruption.

Earlier, arena CEO Len Komorwski said despite the cancellation of the Mid-American Conference tournament that employees will be paid as if the event was held.

___

6:58 p.m.

The Grand Prix of Long Beach scheduled for April 19 has been canceled because of a ban on large scale gatherings in the California city.

Race organizers said they are in conversation with the city of Long Beach and the Convention Center about potentially rescheduling the street race. Long Beach is the second most popular event on the IndyCar schedule behind the Indianapolis 500.

Organizers said if a later date this year is not possible, the race will return on April 18, 2021.

___

6:27 p.m.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the club to close its training complex and put the entire first-team in self isolation.

Arsenal was due to play at Brighton on Saturday, with the Premier League pushing ahead with a full fixture list and stadiums with fans — unlike most other major sports.

However, Arsenal said “it is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates.”

The club issued a statement quoting Arteta as saying: “This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”

Arsenal’s game at Manchester City was called off on Wednesday after players came into contact with a rival team owner who announced Tuesday that he had contracted COVID-19. They met Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis after the Greek team won at Arsenal in the Europa League on Feb. 27.

___

6:17 p.m.

NASCAR has put strict regulations in place for this weekend’s race at Atlanta, which will be held without spectators.

Photographers will not be permitted at the event beyond a pool photographer, and media will not have access to the garage area or pit road. All driver availability will take place via teleconference, fed into the media center.

The NASCAR Cup Series race winning team and second- and third-place finishers will be available via teleconference.

In short, there will be no in-person competitor availability this weekend outside of live broadcast partners and NASCAR Productions.

___

6:09 p.m.

The Colonial Athletic Association says an official who worked a game during its men’s basketball tournament has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The league says the official did not exhibit symptoms of the virus until 72 hours after the game he worked. The conference says it has made the institution involved and tournament personnel aware of the situation so they can take proper precautionary measures.

___

5:55 p.m.

The LPGA Tour has postponed golf’s first major championship of the season and two other events because of the coronavirus.

The tour called off the Volvik Founders Cup in Phoenix on March 19-22, the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California, on March 26-29 and the major ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, on April 2-5.

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement he’s “fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule,” especially the ANA Inspiration.

Earlier, the tour called off events in Thailand, Singapore and China.

Two California events on the developmental Symetra Tour also were postponed, the IOA Championship in Beaumont from March 27-29 and the Windsor Golf Classic in Windsor from April 2-4.

___

5:40 p.m.

Horse racing is continuing to operate in North America and abroad without fans in the stands.

Races at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields in California, Aqueduct in New York, Gulfstream Park in Florida, Laurel Park in Maryland and Turfway Park in Kentucky will go on without spectators. The upcoming Dubai World Cup will be held at an empty Meydan Racecourse on March 28. Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, says when it opens for racing again in April there will not be fans allowed in.

Churchill Downs said preparations to hold the Kentucky Derby on May 2 are up in the air. According to a statement from track officials: “With the event still seven weeks away, a decision will be made closer to that date with respect to postponing the event until later in the year, using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities.”

___

5:30 p.m.

USA Gymnastics has canceled all sanctioned events through the end of March, which includes local meets scheduled at hundreds of USA Gymnastics-sanctioned clubs throughout the United States.

The cancellations also extend to USA Gymnastics-sponsored workshops and clinics as well as any national team camps. The organization had already limited travel for USA Gymnastics staff and national team athletes.

___

4:30 p.m.

The NCAA has canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments because of the spread of coronavirus. The decision came one day after the NCAA announced games that were scheduled to start next week would be played in mostly empty arenas.

That plan was scrapped as every major American sports league, beginning with the NBA, put the brakes on their seasons due to concerns about the pandemic.

The NCAA also canceled all of its championships in every winter and spring sport, including hockey, baseball, lacrosse and several others.

___

3:30 p.m.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has suspended all athletic-related activities. That includes all games, practices, recruiting — and participation in NCAA championships until further notice.

The NCAA has not — at this point — postponed the men’s basketball tournament that’s scheduled for next week, but several individual schools have announced they’re taking a break from sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement that “this is uncharted territory and the health and safety of our student-athletes and institutions remains our top priority.”

___

3:15 p.m.

IndyCar will open its season on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, without spectators.

The three-day event typically draws more than 130,000 fans. Local officials said earlier Thursday that no general admission would be permitted. Only essential personnel will be permitted inside the fencing that surrounds the course.

The event will also be shortened to two days, with Friday used for driver health screenings and determining who is considered essential.

___

3 p.m.

The NFL has canceled its main owners meeting scheduled for later this month in Palm Beach, Florida.

Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the 32 teams “after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts,” according to a league statement. Goodell said the decision was made out of “concern to protect the health of club and league employees and the public while enabling the league to continue with its essential business operations.”

Further changes could be coming for the draft, scheduled to be held in Las Vegas from April 23-25.

Major football issues, including playing rules, bylaws and resolutions, as well as other business matters on the agenda for the March meetings will instead be handled at the May 19-20 spring meeting in Marina del Rey, California.

___

2:30 p.m.

Football season is months away, but spring practice for college teams was in full swing around the country. That is being put on hold in many places, too.

USC and Notre Dame both announced they would suspended practice as their campuses shut down. The SEC’s suspension of sport through March will also take football teams off the practice fields.

___

1:45 p.m.

The NHL is following the NBA’s lead and suspending its season.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the pause of the season amid concerns about the new coronavirus. The NBA announced Wednesday night it was suspending play, after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

Several NBA and NHL teams share arenas.

The NHL has not said any player has tested positive for COVID-19. The league is halting play with 189 games left in the regular season, sparking uncertainty about how many more, if any, could be played before the playoffs.

Bettman said the NHL has tried to follow mandates of health experts and local authorities without taking premature or unnecessary measures.” Bettman’s statement said the NBA’s news made it “no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”

___

1:05 p.m.

The Big East Conference basketball tournament has been canceled at halftime of Thursday’s first game because of the coronavirus outbreak.

As several other big conferences around the country canceled their postseason tournaments, the Big East resumed on schedule at New York’s Madison Square Garden. It started its second-round game between top-seeded Creighton and St. John’s at Madison Square Garden and not until halftime was the tournament called off with St. John’s leading 38-35.

As the Bluejays and Red Storm were playing, a few subway stops away at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Atlantic 10 Conference was holding a news conference to called off its tournament.

___

11:40 a.m.

Major League Soccer is shutting down because of the coronavirus, according to Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas.

Mas says the target period for the hiatus is 30 days.

He told players and coaches, then held a news conference and says, “We’ve made a decision as a league this morning, as owners, that play will be suspended temporarily.”

The expansion team owned by Mas and former England captain David Beckham had been scheduled to play its home opener Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.