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Guarding the face: ex-boxer Haye launches mask to fight COVID-19

July 23, 2020 18:20 IST
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David Hye

IMAGE: Former boxing heavyweight world champion David Haye poses for a photograph following the launch of his premium range of high-tech face masks. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Former world heavyweight champion boxer David Haye launched a face mask on Thursday that he hopes will prove a stylish and eco-friendly way to protect people in gyms, shops and ringside, as the sport tries to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launching The Black Mask Company, Haye said the design was inspired by police masks in Vietnam, where there have been no recorded deaths from COVID-19, and that he wanted to help protect the environment.


"A lot of people use disposable masks - they wear it once and they throw in the bin," he told Reuters. "These are 100% cotton, they're comfortable ... anti-bacterial and good for 30 washes."

He said the washable mask was sweat-proof, making it easier to work out in a gym - or boxing club - when they reopen on Saturday in England.

Already people have to wear face coverings on public transport, and from Friday they will also be compulsory in shops.

Briton Haye, 39, a former world cruiserweight and world heavyweight champion, said he hoped the pandemic's impact on the sport at the elite level would not last long and that a planned fight between compatriots Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury would take place soon.

Haye said they were "two amazing athletes, both legitimate world champions."

"We understand things have been delayed, so hopefully in 2021 we get to find out who is number one," he said.

Although some televised boxing has taken place behind closed doors, Haye said it was difficult for fighters to make a living without spectators ringside.

"Hopefully we can get crowds back in to watch these sports ..," he said. "Boxing is hard to watch when there's no atmosphere and no crowd. You know, we need it."

Saunders fined for social media post promoting domestic abuse

WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has been found guilty of misconduct and fined by Britain's boxing authorities for a social media post in which he advised men how to hit their female partners during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) said in a statement that Saunders was fined 15,000 pounds ($19,000).

But it said the suspension on his licence, which was implemented in March, has now been lifted.

Saunders had filmed himself punching a bag in a barn and advising "dads, husbands and men with girlfriends" how to deal with their female partners during the lockdown.

"Following consideration of Mr. Saunders' explanation, the Stewards found Mr. Saunders guilty of misconduct and have fined him 15,000 pounds to be donated to charities," the BBBofC said in a statement.

Saunders apologised for the video and has also pledged to donate 25,000 pounds to domestic abuse charities.

The Briton, who is unbeaten in 29 bouts and held a world title in the middleweight division before moving up to super-middleweight, was fined 100,000 pounds by the BBBofC in September 2018 for a previous social media post.

In that instance, Saunders posted a video in which he offered a woman drugs to perform a sex act on another person.

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