Callum Johnson out of title fight vs. Joe Smith Jr. after positive COVID test

2 weeks ago 17

Written By Daniel Yanofsky

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Joe Smith Jr. volition person to proceed waiting to support his WBO airy heavyweight title. Callum Johnson, his planned hostile connected Jan. 15, had to backmost retired of the combat aft investigating affirmative for COVID-19.

ESPN’s Mike Coppinger was archetypal to study the news. Top Rank officials are moving connected uncovering a caller hostile for Smith. Promoter Frank Warren told BBC Sport that helium is hoping Smith vs. Johnson tin beryllium rebooked soon.

"It's a existent large shame for Callum," Warren said. "Hopefully we tin get him backmost in, they whitethorn privation to [reschedule the fight] successful precocious spring. He worked truly hard to get the opportunity."

A 2010 Commonwealth Games golden medalist, Johnson made his pro debut that year. A erstwhile Commonwealth and British airy heavyweight champion, Johnson mislaid to Artur Beterbiev successful 2018 for the IBF airy heavyweight title. Since then, helium has won 3 successful a row, his past bout being a bulk determination triumph implicit Server Emurlaev successful October.

MORE: Johnson: My dada volition beryllium looking down connected maine and arrogant that I'm carrying connected without him

Smith made his pro debut successful 2009. He won the WBO airy heavyweight rubric past April against Maxim Vlasov. He tested affirmative for COVID during 2021.

Although a caller hostile is not known and Johnson is inactive looking to situation for the title, Warren is hoping Smith tin look disconnected against Anthony Yarde.

"I'd emotion to bash Joe Smith vs. Anthony Yarde successful the UK,” Warren said. "The WBO accidental determination is simply a mandatory owed and it's going to beryllium Yarde. He is the No. 1 [challenger]. Anthony looked truthful bully successful his past combat against Lyndon Arthur. We've got him down to combat sometime successful March anyway. Fingers crossed. We'll spot what happens adjacent week with Smith and however helium comes through, past spell from there."

Yarde, 30, made his pro debut successful 2015. A erstwhile WBO European and Intercontinental airy heavyweight champion, he lost to Sergey Kovalev successful 2019 for the WBO airy heavyweight title. He has gone 4-1 since then. In his past fight, helium bushed Arthur successful rematch past December to seizure the Commonwealth and WBO Intercontinental airy heavyweight titles.

"The acquisition he's gained since [fighting] Sergey Kovalev stands him successful bully stead," Warren said. "He truly gives Smith truthful galore problems.

Also funny successful warring Smith is undisputed ace middleweight king Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.

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