Justin Rolfe’s chance to box on the undercard of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III world heavyweight championship fight on July 24 has been knocked out by COVID-19.
Reports that Fury, the World Boxing Council and Ring magazine world champion, and others in his camp tested positive for the coronavirus surfaced late last week, leading to the postponement of the highly anticipated card scheduled at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
No new date has been set for the third meeting between Fury and Wilder, with Fury seeking to retain his championship belts against Wilder, the former World Boxing Council champion.
But the 29-year-old Rolfe, a Fairfield resident, won’t lose his chance to fight on national television.
His scheduled four-round bout against undefeated Steven Torres of Reading, Pennsylvania, has been moved to an Aug. 7 show at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota, promoted by Premier Boxing Champions in conjunction with Fox Sports.
The fight is scheduled to be televised by Fox Sports 1.
“We’ve been training hard and want to take advantage of this opportunity,” Rolfe said.
Rolfe is 6-2-1 with four knockouts as a professional and is coming off an eight-round unanimous-decision victory over Jose Corral on June 26 in Derry, New Hampshire, to capture the American Boxing Federation Atlantic heavyweight title.
Torres is 4-0 with four knockouts and will be returning to the ring for the first time since Nov. 7 when he knocked out Joshua Tuani at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.
The new date gives Rolfe two more weeks of training after he accepted the original opportunity to fight Torres in Las Vegas just four days after he defeated Corral.
“Our training’s not changing at all,” he said. “If anything, we get to pick it up for a few extra weeks so we’re thankful to be in the position we’re in.”
While Rolfe looms as the underdog, he hopes to use his clash with Torres in Minnesota as the gateway for another chance to fight in Las Vegas — perhaps even for a rescheduled Fury-Wilder title bout.
“If and when I win we’ll hopefully get back out to Vegas when they announce the next date, but you know how that goes,” Rolfe said. “Nothing’s for certain in this game so we’re going to fight in August, get that big win and see what happens from there.”