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Joe Smith vs. Maxim Vlasov postponed due to COVID-19

Joe Smith was scheduled to return to the ring to fight Maxim Vlasov to take home the vacant WBO world light heavyweight title. COVID-19 is postponing the fight.

Russian boxer Maxim Vlasov (C) celebrates winning his WBA cruiserweight title bout against Nigerian rival Olanrewaju Durodola at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi. Valery Sharifulin/TASS Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

The WBO was set to crown a new light heavyweight champion on Saturday, February 13, but the fight has been postponed. Joe Smith was scheduled to fight Maxim Vlasov, but the Vlasov has tested positive for COVID-19. Top Rank Boxing announced the news Thursday afternoon. Vlasov released the following statement.

“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 fight was going to be the main event of an ESPN card in Las Vegas. Top Rank has moved the lighweight matchup between Richard Commey and Jackson Marinez into the main event slot. The main card is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN with the preliminaries slated to start at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.