Vlasov tests positive; title fight vs. Smith PPD

The WBO light heavyweight championship fight between Maxim Vlasov and Joe Smith Jr. on Saturday has been postponed after the Russian native tested positive for COVID-19 this week in Las Vegas, it was announced Thursday.

Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) was scheduled to face Smith (26-3, 21 KOs) for the vacant title in the main event of this weekend’s Top Rank on ESPN card in Las Vegas. A non-title lightweight bout between Ghana’s Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) and Jackson Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) has been elevated to the main event.

Top Rank announced the changes Thursday.

“I am devastated with the postponement of my world title fight against Joe Smith Jr.,” Vlasov said in a statement. “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.”

This is not the first time Top Rank has lost a main event since resuming operations in a contained bubble at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Next week’s main event — a potential Fight of the Year contender between super featherweight Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez — was postponed in December due to a positive COVID-19 test.

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