CALLUM JOHNSON has been forced to withdraw from his light-heavyweight title fight with Joe Smith Jr after testing positive for Covid.

Johnson was due to challenge Smith for the WBO light heavyweight strap in New York a week on Sunday morning.

But a positive Covid test has scuppered The One's second crack at a world title.

Promoter Frank Warren told The BBC: "It's a real great shame for Callum.

"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."

Johnson, 37, could miss out on the fight altogether as the bout was a voluntary defence for Smith Jr.

But Johnson's loss could be the gain of fellow Brit Anthony Yarde, who currently ranked No1 in the WBO's 175lb rankings.

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Warren said: "If Callum doesn't get his shot then Anthony Yarde is next.

"I'd love to do Joe Smith v Anthony Yarde in the UK.

"The WBO say there is a mandatory due and it's going to be Yarde. He is the number one.

"Anthony looked so good in his last fight against Lyndon Arthur. We've got him down to fight sometime in March anyway. Fingers crossed.

"We'll see what happens next week with Smith and how he comes through. Then go from there.

"I want to keep Anthony busy. We want to get the world title shot for him.

"The experience he's gained since [fighting] Sergey Kovalev stands him in good stead. He really gives Smith so many problems."

Johnson has yet to comment on his unfortunate withdrawal from his clash with Smith Jr.

The Lincolnshire-born light-heavyweight secured his second crack at a world title with three consecutive victories following his fourth-round TKO defeat to unified light-heavyweight king Artur Beterbiev four years ago.

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