Josh Taylor’s dream of playing in the most iconic boxing venue on the Las Vegas Strip is taken from him by the Covid-19 pandemic that is preventing his Scottish army of fans from entering the US.
The Tartan Tornado’s bid to become Britain’s only current undisputed world champion will still take place in Sin City on Saturday, but in a much smaller venue than the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a seating capacity of 17,000.
Less than 2,000 spectators are expected to attend as he and Jose Ramirez compete for the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO light welterweight titles.
Josh Taylor will fight Jose Ramirez at the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas, not the MGM Grand Garden Arena
Taylor will compete against Jose Ramirez (above) for the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO Light Welterweight Titles
The new venue, announced this week, will be a live music theater at the Virgin Hotel.
So renamed since Richard Branson renamed the old Hard Rock Hotel, which he now co-owns but is managed by the Mohegan Sun American Indian casino chain.
This space has expanded to 2,000 people, but under the constraints of Nevada’s coronavirus, attendance is expected to be limited to between 1,200 and 1,600.
Taylor (right) will fight in front of 2,000 fans, but Scots will not be allowed to come to the US
The change was made after promoter Bob Arum was frustrated in attempts to get Taylor fans exempt from the current US ban on British visitors, revealing that only a fraction of the seats would be occupied at the MGM.
Taylor had been talking excitedly about the excitement of the headliner there and seeing his name on the giant billboards on The Strip.
He must now channel this disappointment to overcome California-born Mexican Ramirez in a claustrophobic atmosphere charged by his Spanish fans.