On Tuesday afternoon, Top Rank Boxing confirmed that two fights that had been postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests will now be held together next week.
WBO Junior Lightweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring has recovered sufficiently from battling the illness and will face Jonathan Oquendo in a 12-round World title fight at the MGM Grand Resort,
? JUST ANNOUNCED ? @JamelHerring’s 2nd Junior Lightweight world title defense, plus top contender & fellow U.S. Olympian @MikaelaMayer1 will lead off Week 6 of the TR Summer Series.#HerringOquendo | JULY 14 | ESPN pic.twitter.com/DnASQBie4p
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 7, 2020
The 34 year old Herring tested positive about two weeks before he was to have defended against Oquendo. He said at that time in late June,
“Last week, I tested positive for COVID-19. That’s the bad news.
The good news however is, I feel ok and have self-isolated until I receive a clean bill of health. My WBO Junior Lightweight world title defense against Jonathan Oquendo will be rescheduled shortly.”
Herring is 21 – 2 and was in line to fight Ireland’s Carl Frampton in Belfast in June before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down all of sports back in March. He was last in the ring winning in November, when he scored a 12-round decision over Lamont Roach for his first title defense.
The Former U.S. Marine had won the WBO title on Memorial Day of 2019 capturing the belt by 12 decision over Japan’s Masayuki Ito.
Herring said Tuesday in the Top Rank statement about the re-schedule,
“I am back, healthy and 100 percent ready to defend my world title. Oquendo is a tough opponent who realizes this is his last chance to win a world title. He’s coming for what I have and I’m not going to cut any corners. I will return home to celebrate with my family and my belt.”
As for Mayer, her situation was more complicated and controversial, as she was informed two days before her scheduled fight while in the Las Vegas Top Rank “bubble” that she had tested positive for Covid-19.
Mayer, 12-0, 5 KOs, disputed that she had only the antibodies and was not contagious. A subsequent follow-up test days after the postponement of her fight, showed her to be negative for Coronavirus. And, it called into question the testing procedures that Top Rank and the Nevada Athletic Commission have been using.
Mayer will now have her 10-round non-title, Junior Lightweight showdown with veteran, Helen Joseph. Mayer said Tuesday,
“After having two fights canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am relieved and excited to be back and grateful to Top Rank for getting me back on a card so quickly. I’m not the fighter you last saw in October. I’ve had three camps to peak myself and grow as an athlete. A whole new fighter is stepping in that ring on July 14, so I hope Helen is ready.”
And Top Rank boss, Bob Arum, made clear that the promotion was anxious to have the two fighters back, as soon as possible and it turns out they will now be on the same card,
“Jamel and Mikaela wanted to come back as soon as possible, and we were happy to oblige them,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “They are healthy and ready to put forth tremendous performances.”