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Joe Smith Jr v Callum Johnson postponed after Covid-19 positive

The light heavyweights were due to fight on January 15 for the WBO title

The light heavyweight world title fight between Joe Smith Jr and Callum Johnson has been postponed due to Johnson testing positive for Covid-19.

The Briton was due to take on the WBO champion in New York on January 15, providing as a beacon of light in the otherwise fruitless month of action, but his shot at a world title will now have to wait.

Joe Smith Jr (27-3) will still compete that evening live on ESPN in the United States against an unnamed opponent. 

It has proved somewhat of a role-swap for Smith, who tested positive for Covid-19 himself last September and was forced to pull out of a title defence against Umar Salamov.

Speculation is rife as to who will replace Johnson on January 15.

His Top Rank promotors are claiming to be close to “finalizing” a deal, but the odds of the 32-year-old landing a significant name look pretty slim with just a week to go.

Smith was priced at 2/7 with bet365 to beat Johnson in this cancelled title defence, but expect him to be significantly shorter when a replacement is named.

“It’s a real great shame for Callum,” promoter Frank Warren told BBC Sport.

“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.”