Covid-19 Strikes Again as Maxim Vlasov Tests Positive, Postponing His World Title Fight vs. Joe Smith Jr.
February 11, 2021
Anthony Saldana (134 articles)

Covid-19 Strikes Again as Maxim Vlasov Tests Positive, Postponing His World Title Fight vs. Joe Smith Jr.

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

It was announced Thursday that the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title fight between Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21 KOs) and his opponent Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) scheduled for the main event of this Saturday nights Top Rank Card has been postponed after Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19. The lightweight bout between Ghana’s Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) and Jackson Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) has now been elevated to the main event. “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.”

Ahead of his elevated main event fight with Jackson Marinez, Commey Stated “It’s been over a year since I fought. And lost my title to Teofimo Lopez. It was a little bit hard for me to take but it’s done, and I learned what I had to learn from it. I learned my lesson. It’s redemption time for Commey because I still got a lot in there, and I want to be a two-time world champion. I don’t have that much to prove to myself. I want to be a two-time world champion, so it’s time for me. Once I win this fight, there will be a lot of doors open for me. The lightweight division is packed now. Winning this fight would put me back in the mix. I’m coming back off a loss, and he’s coming back off a loss. It makes sense. It’s a great fight for me to come back.”

Marinez who lost by a controversial decision to  Rolando “Rollies” Romero in his last fight also understands the importance of his fight with Commey. “Regarding the experience of fighting Romero, the whole world saw what happened. Right now, I see myself as a king without a crown, and even though I lost in controversial fashion, it opened up bigger opportunities for me. I’m taking full advantage of them. I just want to make it clear that we never got offered the rematch. We were looking for it. We were with the media doing interviews looking for it. When they saw that after a couple of months I got this big opportunity against Commey, that’s when they went to social media and were saying that I was ducking him and didn’t want to face him again. Right now, I have a great opponent in front of me, a former world champion, and I’m ready to take advantage of this opportunity. I’m excited and proud to face someone like Commey.” 

In the co-main event Adam “Blunose” Lopez (14-2, 6 KOs) will look to defend his WBC/NABF Featherweight Title in a 10 round bout against former world title challenger Jason Sanchez (15-2, 8 KOs). Lopez is a fan friendly fighter who has been in some real wars since his loss to Oscar Valdez in November 2019, a fight in which Valdez came off the canvas to capture the victory. Lopez last fought in June and came away with a majority decision win over Louie Coria in battle that tested the will of both fighters, as they exchanged blows the entire fight. Now Lopez will enter the ring against Sanchez in what many fans say will be the fight of the night. “Saturday night I’m back on the big screen,” Lopez said. “Mark your calendars, call off work, do what you have to do. You don’t want to miss this one. This is the year ‘BluNose’ gets his strap. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen.”

Sanchez like Lopez also came up short against Valdez for the WBO featherweight world title in June 2019, and has two losses in his last three fights as most recently he lost a 10 round decision to Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz last June. When asked about his upcoming fight with Lopez, Sanchez stated  “l’ve never been more ready. I just came back from a loss, so I am more determined and hungrier than ever. I will not take another loss, and that is my biggest motivation.” 

SATURDAY’S CARD on ESPN, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) vs. Jackson Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) 10 rounds, lightweight

Adam Lopez (14-2, 6 KO’s)  vs. Jason Sanchez (15-2, 8 KO’s) 10 rounds, for Lopez’s NABF featherweight title

Jared Anderson (7-0, 7 KOs) vs. Kingsley Ibeh (5-1-1, 4 KO’s) 6 rounds, heavyweight

ESPN+, 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT

Eric Puente (4-0) vs. Sergio Vega(2-0-1, 2 KOs) 4 rounds, lightweight

Jahi Tucker (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Eric Rodriguez (1-1,1 KO) 4 rounds, welterweight

Troy Isley (Debut) vs. Bryant Costello (1-1, 1 KO) 4 rounds, middleweight

Floyd Diaz (Debut) vs. Fernando Macias (1-1) 4 rounds, bantamweight



Anthony Saldana