The 2020 USA Boxing National Championships will now be held in Shreveport ©Getty Images

The 2020 USA Boxing National Championships has changed venue after Hurricane Laura caused severe damage to Lake Charles Civic Center.

The category-four storm - considered one of the strongest to hit the United States in recent times - ripped through Louisiana last month, flattening buildings and causing the Civic Center’s roof to collapse.

Competition organisers deemed the venue "inhospitable" for this year’s National Championships - scheduled to take place from December 5 to 12.

But USA Boxing announced the event will remain in Louisiana after Shreveport provided a "great alternative" in the form of Shreveport Convention Center.

The event is predicted to generate an estimated $2 million (£1.6 million/€1.7million) for the area which has been hit hard by the hurricane.

"Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc on the city of Lake Charles and rendered their Civic Center inhospitable for this year’s National Championships," said Michael Campbell, events and operations manager for USA Boxing.

"Our events staff immediately pivoted and was determined to replace the event with as little disruption as possible for our coaches and boxers that had been training with their goals fixed on participating in this event to end the year.

"Shreveport stepped up quickly to provide us a great alternative within the same footprint as the planned event, therefore we could keep our same scheduled dates and remain in the great state of Louisiana.

"Shreveport will provide good accessibility, weather and hospitality for our members and their Convention Center will be ideal for the implementation of our #BackToBoxing protocols that are designed to ensure the safety of our boxers, coaches, officials and members of the community."

Lake Charles Civic Center hosted the United States Olympic boxing trials in December ©Getty Images
Lake Charles Civic Center hosted the United States Olympic boxing trials in December ©Getty Images

Kelly Wells, executive director for the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission, was delighted to see the competition stay in Louisiana after Lake Charles Civic Center held last year’s United States Olympic boxing trials for Tokyo 2020.

"Primarily, I would like to acknowledge my unwavering respect for Lake Charles and their investment in USA Boxing, which ultimately highlights Louisiana as a destination for national, elite sporting events," Wells said.

"As they recover from the detrimental effects of Hurricane Laura, Shreveport-Bossier is excited to keep this event within our state, which is expected to bring an estimated $2 million in economic impact to the area."

This year’s National Championships will see boxers compete in divisions ranging from pee-wee to elite for a place on Team USA’s high-performance teams, and will feature junior, youth and elite age groups.

In a bid to combat the spread of COVID-19, there are set to be staggered check-in days, late coaches check-ins and no general weigh-in.

"We’re honoured to welcome approximately 1,000 athletes to Shreveport-Bossier, as well as their coaches, friends, families and other boxing enthusiasts," Wells added.

"On behalf of the Sports Commission team and Shreveport-Bossier community, I would like to thank the USA Boxing family for entrusting us with this incredible event, as well as Lt. Governor Nungesser, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Shreveport Convention Center, Hilton Shreveport and the local boxing community.

"We’ll deliver nothing less than world-class hospitality in sportsman’s paradise."