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Top Rank's Mikaela Mayer tests positive for COVID-19, is out of boxing's return to ESPN on Tuesday

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·3-min read
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 15:  Super featherweight boxer Mikaela Mayer (C) poses with referee Russell Mora and her trainer Al Mitchell after her unanimous-decision victory over Lizbeth Crespo at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Mikaela Mayer, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, announced on social media Sunday that she tested positive for Covid-19 and is off of Tuesday's Top Rank card on ESPN in Las Vegas. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — Mikaela Mayer, the unbeaten 2016 U.S. Olympian, announced Sunday on social media that she is off of Top Rank’s show Tuesday that represents the return to boxing because she tested positive for Covid-19.

Mayer said in a post on Instagram that she tested positive on Saturday when she arrived at the MGM for her fight against Helen Joseph that was scheduled for the first card Top Rank has staged since the heavyweight title bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder on Feb. 22.

According to Top Rank’s protocol for fights during the pandemic that it developed with the Nevada Athletic Commission, fighters are tested upon arrival and then quarantined in their rooms until they get the result. When Mayer learned of the positive test, she was isolated.

Mayer last fought in Reno on Oct. 26 when she stopped Alejandra Soledad Zamora after six rounds to improve her record to 12-0 with five knockouts.

Top Rank released a statement which said:

Top Rank has a protocol playbook in place, including extensive measures in case of a positive COVID-19 test. Those policies were followed as planned. We wish Mikaela the best and look forward to seeing her in the ring very soon.

Bob Bennett, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, declined to comment specifically on Mayer’s positive test. But he expressed gratitude that the system put in place worked by catching Mayer, who was asymptomatic.

The procedures the Nevada commission implemented have also been in use at the last two UFC shows. One of the cornermen of fighter Ian Heinisch tested positive last week. He was sent home but Heinisch fought and won by first-round knockout Saturday at UFC 250 at Apex.

“I can’t make any comment on any fighter’s tests, but we worked very hard with many qualified medical people to make sure we came up with a protocol that would make it this closed event as safe as possible for all personnel involved,” Bennett said.

Al Mitchell, the 1996 U.S. Olympic coach who is one of Mayer’s coaches, said he was shocked by the positive result. He said he and head coach Kay Koroma have been around her for the last several weeks and no one else tested positive.

Mitchell said the bout was a good test for Mayer and that she took the news that she couldn’t compete hard. Mitchell said he had stayed in Mayer’s home for several days but tested negative.

“She was devastated,” Mitchell said. “She’s so down. She wanted to box so bad. This was a great opportunity for her to fight on TV with everybody watching. This was a good opponent and she wanted this fight badly. She’s really down, but we think she’ll be back boxing in July. I don’t think it’s going to have an impact on her in the long-term, but it hurts her a lot now. None of us can understand it because we’re all fine and we were all around her.”

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