Coronavirus crisis: the boxing world reflects - part 5

Sonia Randev & Luke G. Williams
29/03/2020 7:15am

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

How are members of the boxing community worldwide coping with the Coronavirus crisis? In the fifth of a new series, Boxing Monthly hears from Otto Wallin, Mohammad Bilal Ali and Ellie Scotney...

"[I'm pretty sure I've had Coronavirus] but to be honest I feel ok. I still can't smell anything but I've got some of my taste back. It started on Sunday 15th. I woke up with a little sore throat and thought it was because I slept with my window open. Then my mum called me and she had the same symptoms. She had been over here visiting me for ten days from Sweden then she went back. The day after she got back she started having symptoms. She was worse than me - she had a high fever and was very tired. For me it wasn't that bad - like a light cold. Then I started getting better but I lost my sense of smell and taste. It was the same for my mum, when she started to get better she lost those senses too. My mum's boyfriend was in hospital but he's home now. He also lost his smell and taste too.

"I talked to a doctor when I first started having symptoms and they said I didn't really need the test because my symptoms are mild. We want to keep the tests for those who really need them. That takes the pressure off the hospitals. I've been quarantining anyway for about the last ten days. I had done some shopping with my mum right before she left. One of my friends dropped some stuff off for me and I've been ordering groceries online. That's been working out fine. I'm here by myself, but to be honest it isn't really so different from my normal life. apart from the fact I can't go to the gym. Normally when I'm not in the gym I'm at home taking it easy or resting. I haven't been that bored. I've got a Playstation so I've been on that. I've been reading up on the virus and been watching the news.

"Right now this is the epicentre of the virus here in New York. I think the number of people who have the virus are much higher than the figures because not everyone has been tested. A few of my friends have had symptoms as well. I've had an injury so to be honest I couldn't have been injured at a better time really. I've got some equipment so I can train at home but it's not the same as being at the gym." - Otto Wallin, former lineal heavyweight title challenger

"I am still training regardless of the situation. Still doing my runs, sprints. me and [coach] Ade [Olayinka] always told ourselves to keep working no matter what happens and that's just what we live by but it's obviously not the normal way to train. The things that are possible to do we are definitely going to keep doing and financially better times will come. I know God's got something written better for us - God willing - so I can't really stress about that. The goal is to keep going. Financially, like I said, I never really stress. I've always been the type of person who just believed in God's plan and I do believe - God willing - in the future financial problems won't be a problem but that just takes patience, belief, hard work and a lot of prayers. In a lot of situations that I have been I've realised that a good team is very needed in your life. Yes it will definitely be difficult for [everyone] but as long as we keep working and don't stop trust me we will have a bright future for sure. Remember to get to the top will always [involve] disappointments and once you keep that in your mind your journey will run smoother." - Mohammad Bilal Ali, 4-0 prospect

"I'm beyond gutted [that her pro debut scheduled for 28 March was cancelled] but it’s a situation which just can’t be helped. This week would have been my fight week - instead I’ve been shadow boxing in my front room in socks! Just puts everything into perspective - without health nothing else matters. I work part time in B&Q, so I'm getting by off that. At the moment they class us as essential workers - crazy I know. I'm ticking over, it’s hard being out of the boxing environment. Your mind is constantly ticking and I’ve never been someone who can be out of a ring for as long as a couple of days. It’s a hard time for everyone. [After the virus] the backlog is going to be massive, not just in boxing but everyone in terms of life. It’s going to be hard but I feel as though everyone in boxing will want the same thing and that’s to get it going as soon as we can! [My message to everyone] is that in this uncertainty keep safe, and everyone close to you at a distance!" - Ellie Scotney, professional boxer, awaiting debut