Callum Johnson Out Vs. Joe Smith Jr Due To Covid, Searching For Replacement

UPDATE: Steve Geffrard (18-2, 12 KOs) will step in as replacement, Dan Rafael reported.

Callum Johnson has been forced to withdraw from his matchup with Joe Smith Jr.

Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19, promoter Frank Warren confirmed. Warren added that if Johnson can’t be rescheduled, Anthony Yarde is next in line for a title shot.

“Hopefully we can get him back in, they may want to [reschedule the fight] in late spring. He worked really hard to get the opportunity,” Warren told BBC Sport.

“If Callum doesn’t get his shot then Anthony Yarde is next.”

Dan Rafael reported that Top Rank is searching for a late replacement, as they plan for the fight night to go on as scheduled.

Johnson, the top light heavyweight contender, was going to face Smith for his WBO championship belt in the Top Rank main event on January 15.

The British boxer has notched wins in his previous fights against Server Emurlaev, Emil Markic and Sean Monaghan by majority decision and two technical knockouts, respectively.

Prior those bouts, Johnson lost to Artur Beterbiev, the WBC and IBF world light heavyweight champion.

Yarde, meanwhile, is on a two-fight winning streak after he suffered a split decision loss against Lyndon Arthur in their first meeting in December 2020.

Smith has yet to make a public comment on Johnson’s withdrawal.

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