Devastation as light heavyweight title bout falls foul of Covid at the eleventh hour

Joe Smith Jr. Vlasov

Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN main event between Joe Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov — for the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title — has been postponed after Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19.

Vlasov said, “I am devastated with the postponement of my world title fight against Joe Smith Jr. I have been following strict protocols, I have done regular testing with negative results, and I have no symptoms. I am well prepared and had an excellent training camp. I look forward to the rescheduling of the fight and the opportunity to display my world class skills.”

The Richard Commey-Jackson Marinez lightweight bout has been elevated to the main event and will headline the ESPN-televised tripleheader beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

In the new co-feature, action star Adam Lopez will defend his NABF featherweight belt in a 10-rounder against former world title challenger Jason Sanchez.

The ESPN telecast will open with Toledo heavyweight sensation Jared Anderson (7-0, 7 KOs) against Kingsley Ibeh in a six-rounder.

Undercard bouts, including the professional debut of former U.S. amateur star Troy Isley, will stream live on ESPN+ at 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT.