TRAINER Tony Borg says that the coronavirus pandemic has halted the rise of a raft of his St Joseph's title hopefuls.

Lockdown has led to the doors being shut at the usually busy Newport gym and the suspension of boxing led to the postponement of fights for its biggest names.

Lee Selby was meant to be fighting George Kambosos Jnr in Cardiff in May in an IBF lightweight eliminator with Gavin Gwynne taking on James Tennyson on the undercard for the British lightweight title.

Selby's fight has been pushed back to October in the capital while Gwynne's showdown is in August but other fighters are still waiting to find out when they can get back in the ring.

"What would've been a great night, with Lee getting a world title shot and Gavin becoming British champion, has been pushed back," said Borg. "It would have been big wages, so it was a real knockback.

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"Then there is Robbie Vernon, who is still unbeaten and looking to get a Welsh title fight if possible, and Lance Cooksey is knocking on the door and wants a Welsh or Celtic title fight.

"We've got Jordan Withers looking for a title fight at middleweight and a lot of other prospects coming through.

"Joshua John, from Port Talbot, is unbeaten and has showed a lot of promise. He looks a certainty for a British title, I would have said some time this year, but this has put us back massively.

"The boys have jobs and without sponsors it would be impossible. It's a tough time for them."

It's also a tough time for Borg, who is waiting for the go ahead to reopen St Joseph's.

"It's been a struggle because we have a lot of key holders who rent keys, who get access to the gym basically 24 hours," he said.

"It's a well-equipped gym and we put a lot back into it – we've just had a refit with new showers, changing rooms, floors, walls and new bags.

"We've just had the whole gym cleaned and there is no money coming back in yet. Hopefully we can open up in the next few weeks.

"It's a big gym and we will not be jam-packed, we just might have to change the kids sessions to smaller groups. We've got three floors, so they are not crammed in."

"We've had the gym sanitised with every part of it deep cleaned and when the boxers come in they will take all the precautions necessary."

That will allow Borg to get to work preparing his fighters for action with Gwynne set to fight behind closed doors in August while it is hoped a crowd will be allowed in for Selby's eliminator at the Motorpoint Arena.

The St Joseph's team have been ensuring that fighters are still getting their boxing fix during lockdown.

Borg said: "Some fighters might have gone off the rails but fortunately the pubs are closed and they can't get enticed by their mates!

"Some might have come back and be two stone heavier but Lee and Gavin are very professional."

"We are in touch every day," he continued. "Two or three times a week we do a video session and we can do bag work sessions, circuits, warm up and warm down. We do it all online.

"Gavin's fight will be on us soon and he is back in full training, so I am in the process of sorting out some sparring in England, because they can spar and we are not allowed to in Wales."