British light heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde said on Sunday that his father has died from the coronavirus and urged people to do their part to stop the spread of the virus by staying at home.
"I'm a very private person and [to be honest] I'm still in shock, but maybe this can help people stay at home. My dad passed away from this virus yesterday and he was fit with no health issues," Yarde wrote on social media Sunday. "The more people go out and mingle, the longer this isolation will last and the more it will spread. I'm not a doctor but I do know if you stay home you are less likely to catch it or pass it on. It's seriously not worth the risk."
Promoter Frank Warren's Queensberry Promotions, which represents Yarde, issued a statement offering condolences.
"Frank Warren and everyone at Queensberry Promotions would like to express sincere condolences to Anthony Yarde and his family after the untimely passing of his father. Coronavirus is an issue affecting all of us, but that doesn't make the individual casualties any less tragic," the statement said. "We hope that his fans listen to Anthony's heartfelt plea for people to take the government's advice seriously so we can try and minimize the suffering of others."
On Aug. 24, Yarde (19-1, 18 KOs), 28, got a mandatory shot at then-light heavyweight world titlist Sergey Kovalev. Yarde traveled to Kovalev's hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, and gave a very spirited effort in what was eventually an 11th-round knockout loss.
Yarde returned for a low-level second-round knockout of Diego Jair Ramirez on Feb. 8 in Spain and was scheduled to fight countryman Lyndon Arthur (16-0, 12 KOs) on April 11 on the undercard of the vacant European heavyweight title fight between Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois at the O2 Arena. However, that show was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and is tentatively rescheduled for July 11.