Boxing set for return to Roland Garros

Stade Roland Garros is set to host boxing for the first time in nearly 50 years as the French Tennis Federation (FFT) seeks to enhance the venue’s multi-purpose claims.

Frenchman Tony Yoka will headline a card that will take place at Court Philippe Chatrier, Roland Garros’ main stadium, on September 10.

Yoka, who won gold in the super heavyweight division at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will take on Croatian Petar Milas in his 11th professional fight in the heavyweight category.

Court Philippe Chatrier, which has a capacity of 15,000, has hosted boxing on three prior occasions. In 1946, French boxing great Marcel Cerdan beat American Holman Williams on points. Jean-Claude Bouttier defeated Carlo Duran in 1971 only for the Frenchman to lose on points to Carlos Monzon, who retained his WBA and WBC middleweight titles in 1973.

Stade Roland Garros is also due to host boxing events, along with tennis, during Paris’ staging of the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The FFT said: “The FFT wants Roland Garros to be a new living space combining sport, events, entertainment and culture. Throughout the year, it will therefore welcome clubs, communities, the general public and businesses looking for unique and exclusive experiences in this truly legendary setting.”

Engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald was recently appointed by the FFT to aid the next phase of the redevelopment of Stade Roland Garros.

Following the end of the 2021 French Open on June 5, work is due to begin on installing a retractable roof over Court Suzanne Lenglen. The second-biggest stadium of the complex, Court Suzanne Lenglen is receiving its upgrade ahead of Paris 2024.

As a leader of an advisory team, Mott MacDonald has been appointed by the FFT to work on the modernisation of the complex. The company’s Paris team will manage the operation to ensure its success in terms of planning, cost and expected quality. The work includes feasibility and scoping, procurement advisory, project management and technical advisory.

Work is being planned around the 2022 and 2023 French Opens to ensure availability of Court Suzanne Lenglen. The work is scheduled to be finished by December 2023.

Court Philippe Chatrier received its new roof ahead of the 2020 French Open. Prior to this, the tournament was the only grand slam not to offer a covered court.

Image: Christophe Guibbaud/FFT