By Charles Brun: Former world title challenger Callum Johnson has tested positive for COVID 19 and pulled from his January 15th headliner fight against WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr.
Top Rank is looking for a replacement for Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) to defend his WBO 175-lb title against on the card. Hopefully, they can find someone.
Was Callum Johnson vaccinated?
It’s unclear whether the 36-year-old Callum had been vaccinated for COVID or not. You hate to say it, but Johnson may not ever get another opportunity to fight for a world title.
As old as Smith is, how can he not be vaccinated because it’s not as if he will continue to be given world title shots as he moves towards 40. He’s on the wrong side of 30, and he can’t afford to miss out on world title opportunities like this.
At this point, it’s mind-boggling that any fighter wouldn’t get vaccinated, given how many different people they come in contact with during their training camps.
This is their livelihood, and it’s impossible to imagine anyone NOT being double-vaccinated as a safety precaution for themselves and others. I’m just saying.
It’ll be interesting to see if Top Rank chooses to give Callum Johnson a shot at Joe Smith’s WBO 175-lb belt later this year. This would be a voluntary defense for Smith, as Callum is ranked at #11 with the World Boxing Organization.
Callum is a fringe contender, and there was no reason other than for business purposes for him to be given another chance to fight Joe Smith.
Will Top Rank give Callum another chance?
What that means for Callum is that unless Top Rank wants to reschedule with him for the sake of it, he may be out of luck for a world title shot in 2022.
It would be shocking if Top Rank chooses to reschedule with Callum Johnson at a later date, but you never know. For them to have selected Callum in the first place suggests that this was a business-level fight.
If Callum has to earn his way into a mandatory position by winning a WBO 175-lb title eliminator, I’m not sure that he can do that. Assuming that Johnson would need to beat the highly ranked Gilberto “Zurdo’ Ramirez or Joshua Buatisi to earn the WBO mandatory spot, it’s highly dou9btful that he would be capable of defeating them.
There’s no word yet who Top Rank will be looking to find as a replacement for Joe Smith Jr. to fight, but it’s likely one of these contenders in the WBO’s rankings:
- Leon Bunn
- Andre Dirrell
- Mathieu Bauderlique
- Badou Jack
- Anthony Yarde
- Igor Mikhalkin
- Faris Chevalier
Top Rank will NOT pick anyone dangerous for Smith like Callum Smith, Buatsi, Zurdo Ramirez, or Lyndon Arthur.