The same infectious disease which decimated the boxing schedule for the past three months has now directly affected its second boxer planning to fight upon the sport’s triumphant return.
Chris Zavala, an unbeaten featherweight contender from Bellflower, California, was forced to withdraw from his scheduled June 16 clash versus Edward Vazquez after his coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test came back positive. Their bout was due to appear on the undercard of an ESPN-televised event headlined by a 10-round bantamweight bout between Joshua Greer Jr. and Mike Plania live from MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Because of current testing protocol in place, Zavala was immediately removed from the show. Vazquez—an unbeaten prospect from Fort Worth, Texas—become an unfortunate casualty, as travel restrictions in addition to the limited time frame to secure a new opponent leaves him off of next Tuesday’s show as well.
“Here we go again,” Vazquez (7-0, 1KO) revealed through social media on Wednesday evening upon learning the news of his no longer appearing on the June 16 show. “My fight has been called off due to my opponent testing positive for #covid19. I wish you a speedy recovery man, get better and let’s try again. My team did everything in their power to find a replacement but a handful of guys either weren’t ready or just weren’t up for the challenge smh.
“I’m gutted after all the hard work and sacrifice but it is what it is. What’s meant for me will come to me, and I know my time will come. They’ve guaranteed me a slot on ESPN in July so back to the grind for a few more weeks, hopefully I’ll have news for you guys sooner than later. Sorry to all my sponsors and my supporters for the let down man, this was out of my control. Be back soon.”
Zavala becomes the second boxer to test positive since Top Rank mapped out plans for its ongoing summer boxing series behind closed doors in Las Vegas. Mikaela Mayer (12-0, 5KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian and rising junior lightweight contender was forced off of the series premiere this past Tuesday after learning of her positive test this past Sunday.
Mayer had already arrived in Vegas and was tested onsite before having to leave the facility due to testing protocol in place with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Her test result was attributed to being asymptomatic, and a follow-up study proved it to be a false positive. However, the inability to retest still left her defenseless and without a fight.
Zavala was tested prior to traveling to Vegas, due to a sparring partner having contracted the infectious disease, BoxingScene.com has learned. The 20-year old prospect noted that he is experiencing mild symptoms, and is required to self-quarantine for 14 days per current health guidelines.
The rest of the June 16 show remains intact. In supporting capacity, unbeaten rising welterweight Giovani Santillan (25-0, 15KOs) faces former lightweight titlist and still relevant spoiler Antonio DeMarco (33-8-1, 24KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout. The event will mark the third show of Top Rank’s current closed-doors, with its June 9 debut marking the first televised boxing event from the United States since March 13.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox