The Bubble has been denied its historic moment.
A planned heavyweight clash between Italy’s Guido Vianello and Phoenix-based Kingsley Ibeh has been pulled from the July 21 edition of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The bout fell through on Monday after Ibeh tested positive for COVID-19.
“My fight has been canceled due to the positive test of my opponent,” Vianello stated on Monday upon learning of his opponent’s health status. “It’s a tough situation but I feel very confident for the future.”
Both boxers were due to return to The Bubble for Tuesday’s bout, which was to have served in supporting capacity to a non-title fight between unbeaten former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21KOs) and Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez (29-6-1, 22KOs). Vianello—who represented Italy in the 2016 Rio Olympics— scored a 1st round knockout versus soft touch Don Haynesworth on the June 9 summer series debut.
Ibeh (5-1, 4KOs) was set to become the first three-time participant in Top Rank’s closed-door series, having scored two wins in a span of one week. The full-time insurance salesman and now aspiring heavyweight prospect avenged his lone career defeat with a 4th round stoppage of Waldo Cortes on the June 25 undercard, before returning one week later to outpoint previously unbeaten Patrick Mailata on July 2.
It stood to reason that both heavyweights were facing the toughest test of their respective careers, though Vianello was a considerable betting favorite. Still, the unbeaten 6’6” heavyweight was hoping for the activity and step up in class as he was eager to show a new look from the version that appeared on the circuit just six weeks ago.
“I trained hard and made a lot of improvements,” noted Vianello, who has yet to be extended past three rounds in his young career. “Now it’s time to come back to Italy, recharge the batteries and wait for the next fight date.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox