The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the long-ago set featherweight clash between James 'Jazza' Dickens and Ryan Walsh.
This time around, the infectious disease has directly affected the MTK Global-branded Golden Contract featherweight final, which was due to headline Wednesday evening from Production Park Studios in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. Liverpool's Dickens was forced to withdraw from his anticipated clash with Walsh after testing positive for COVID-19, as did his head trainer and former world title challenger Derry Mathews.
As a result, their bout has been indefinitely postponed, with Dickens and his team forced to leave the fight bubble.
The balance of the show remains intact, with the Golden Contract junior welterweight finale between Tyrone McKenna and Ohara Davies topping what is now a five-fight bill. The show will air live on ESPN+ in the United States and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. In the evening's chief support, Serge Michel (10-1, 7KOs) and Liam Conroy (18-5-1, 9KOs) collide in a Golden Contract light heavyweight semifinal clash, with the winner to face Ricards Bolotniks (17-5-1, 7KOs) following his 10-round whitewash of Hosea Burton (25-2, 11KOs) this past Saturday.
Dickens (29-3, 11KOs) was enjoying a nice momentum swing in his career, having won seven straight following a failed title bid versus lineal junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in a July 2016 knockout loss and a subsequent technical decision defeat to Thomas Patrick Ward in May 2017. The 29-year old enhanced his career credentials following a pair of wins in the MTK Global Golden Contract featherweight tournament, outpointing Carlos Ramos last October and Leigh Wood this past February to advance to the final round.
The path for Walsh (26-2-2, 14KOs) has been far more destructive. The 34-year old from Cromer scored a pair of wins over previously unbeaten foes to make his way to the finals, knocking out Hairon Socarras in the 9th round of their quarterfinal last October before decisively decisioning Tyrone McCullagh this past February.
Because the tournament final is set in stone, offering an alternate opponent was not an option. With that will come a rescheduled date once Dickens is given a clean bill of health and event organizers can coordinate with Sky Sports and ESPN+ to carry the event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox