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Nevada greenlights first fights

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Featherweight southpaw Shakur Stevenson will face Puerto Rico’s Felix Carabello on June 9. Getty Images/AFP

Nevada greenlights first fights

Boxing is set to return to the US city of Las Vegas next month after the Nevada State Athletic Commission gave the green light to the resumption of combat sports in the state on Wednesday.

Nevada chiefs approved two June boxing cards which will be put on by promoter Top Rank as well as two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events.

The cards are the first combat sports events to be staged in Nevada since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

UFC’s mixed martial arts events will be staged at its facility on Saturday and June 6 while Top Rank chief Bob Arum will offer fights on June 9 and 11 at the MGM Grand, both without spectators.

The commission decision, made on a conference call, comes a day after Nevada governor Steve Sisolak moved the state into the second phase of a reopening plan that includes sports events without audiences after more than two months being shut down since the deadly virus outbreak.

Unbeaten US southpaw featherweight Shakur Stevenson, 13-0 with seven knockouts, is expected to face Puerto Rico’s Felix Caraballo, 13-1 with two drawn and nine knockouts, in the June 9 boxing main event.

UFC staged three events earlier this month in Florida using testing and Covid-19 safety protocols and have worked with the commission to establish an operations plan for Nevada events, while details of Top Rank’s plan are being finalised.

UFC fighters would be tested upon arrival in Las Vegas and again after weighing in on the eve of the event.

Event personnel will be required to quarantine after their arrival tests under Nevada’s protocols until the conclusion of the event, with facemasks required, reported ESPN.

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