Evander Holyfield to replace Oscar De La Hoya in comeback fight

Oscar De La Hoya is out of his comeback fight with Vitor Belfort, and will be replaced by legendary former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

The former multiple-weight world champion was due to step up in weight to take on Belfort in his first fight since 2008 at the Staples Center in LA on Saturday September 11, but tested positive for coronavirus and is now out of his comeback.

Triller Fight Club, who are promoting the bout, will replace him with Holyfield, who was in training for a return of his own against Kevin McBride, which was originally slated for June and then August.

Holyfield has been staying in shape for the McBride fight, and even offered to step in on short notice to save Triller's last failed card after Teofimo Lopez tested positive for coronavirus.

De La Hoya has shared an emotional video from his hospital bed after testing positive for covid – despite getting fully vaccinated.

The boxing legend was due to make his long-awaited return to the ring on Saturday, September 11 against former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort, but was forced to pull out after testing positive for the disease.

And De La Hoya has updated fans on his diagnosis, telling them the virus "really kicked his a**", even after being fully vaccinated ahead of the bout.

"What are the chances of me getting covid?" De La Hoya asked from his bed in Adventist Health White Memorial hospital in California. "I've been taking care of myself, but this really, really kicked my a**."

He expanded in a second video in Spanish, telling fans he was doing very badly, with the video's caption expanding to say that he plans to fight later this year, as well as confirming his vaccine status.

"I wanted you to hear directly from me that despite being fully vaccinated, I have contracted Covid and am not going to be able to fight next weekend," it reads.

"Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, and I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support.

"I am currently in the hospital getting treatment and am confident I will be back in the ring before the year is up.

"God bless everyone and stay safe."

The promotion, who have only staged one pay-per-view card this year despite announcing many more, are awaiting confirmation that Holyfield will be cleared by the California State Athletic Commission.

Should he not be granted a licence for the bout on such short notice, Triller would be willing to move the card to Florida, according to a report from Ariel Helwani.

Lopez's first unified world title defence was set to take place on the platform against George Kambosos Jr in Florida this summer, but after testing positive the card was cancelled.

Triller Fight Club burst on to the boxing scene with a disruptive opening few weeks, launching with the infamous Jake Paul vs Ben Askren PPV.

But they really raised eyebrows when they offered an eye-watering $6million for Lopez v Kambosos to take the highly-anticipated fight from Matchroom Boxing and Top Rank.

However, after a wildly successful first event with Paul and Askren, things began to go downhill for the promotion.

They booked Lopez and Kambosos in for a June fight night in Florida, which was moved to accommodate for Logan Paul vs Floyd Mayweather.

And the rescheduled date was forced to be moved again when Lopez contracted coronavirus, with the fight still unconfirmed, although October 9 appears to be the new date.

They also had announced Holyfield would fight McBride on that undercard, but then moved it to an August date that came and went without ever being confirmed.

Triller Fight Club did stage a smaller-scale event in Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theatre last month, which was a solid success, selling out and earning respectable viewership on Fite TV.

The event pitted top heavyweight Michael Hunter against Mike Wilson before a 'Verzuz' rap battle between The Lox and Dipset.

Their return to big box office pay-per-view is still slated for September 11, with the card also featuring potential headline bouts between Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz, as well as the return of David Haye.

Haye will take on pal Joe Fournier in an exhibition bout in his first fight since 2018 after the pair apparently fell out over a meal in Mykonos where they discussed an hypothetical fight between the two.

A spokesman for Triller Fight Club opted not to comment when asked about the fight change by Mirror Fighting.

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