Ryan Garcia and Luke Campbell are once again forced to play the waiting game.
A planned interim title fight between two of the leading lightweight contenders is officially on hold after England’s Campbell (20-3, 16KOs) tested positive for COVID-19. Representatives from Golden Boy Promotions—Garcia’s promoter and the lead for the event—and Campbell’s career-long promoter Matchroom Boxing both confirmed the news on Tuesday.
The bout was due to take place December 5, live on DAZN from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The event was to have served as the first boxing telecast following DAZN’s global launch on December 1, where the sports streaming service will be available in more than 200 countries.
“The Garcia vs. Campbell boxing event presented by Golden Boy and DAZN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has been postponed following a positive COVID-19 test result from Luke Campbell,” Golden Boy confirmed in a statement. “Campbell is doing well, but the fight will need to be rescheduled.
“As we know, fans are really looking forward to this great fight. All parties involved are working to get a new date scheduled as soon as possible.”
The development marks the second time where Campbell was assigned to fight for the same WBC title only for the bout to be pulled from the schedule due to COVID-related reasons. The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and two-time title challenger was set to face Javier Fortuna for the then-vacant WBC lightweight belt on April 17, only for the event to get canceled due to the initial wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Not only did Campbell miss out on a payday but the chance at becoming a lightweight champion. The belt that was on the line at the time has since been returned to its original claimant, Devin Haney (25-0, 15KOs) upon fully recovering from successful shoulder surgery. The unbeaten Las Vegas-based titlist has since defended his crown in a 12-round virtual shutout of Yuriorkis Gamboa this past Saturday in Hollywood, Florida.
The winner of Garcia-Campbell will be next in line to face Haney, with such a fight still a matter of “when” and not “if” according to all invested parties in this matchup.
“[Campbell] has completed isolation and resumes training shortly but will not be fit for Dec 5,” Hearn revealed on Tuesday. “We are working on a new date with Golden Boy and DAZN, and only anticipate a very short delay to this great fight.”
Sources inform BoxingScene.com that—given his having already recovered from the infectious disease and following all isolation protocols—the hope is for just a two-week delay.
Such plans would tentatively put the fight at December 19, a date once held open for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The pound-for-pound and box-office king has since severed ties with Golden Boy and DAZN, leaving the date open for those who proudly remain bound to the sports streaming service.
Garcia (20-0, 17KOs) has been out of the ring since a 1st round knockout of Francisco Fonseca this past February in Anaheim, California. The 22-year old from Victorville, California was blessed with several opportunities to pursue a major lightweight title before landing on the WBC route and this interim title fight.
Despite the delay in the aforementioned fight, the DAZN global launch will remain intact for December 1 as scheduled.