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Dillian Whyte's hopes of world title shot hit by COVID-19 blow

Dillian Whyte's hopes of world title shot hit by COVID-19 blow
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The pandemic continues to affect sport across the country.

Dillian Whyte’s hopes of working his way back towards a world title shot have been dealt a fresh blow by coronavirus.

Whyte was due to meet Alexander Povetkin in a rematch at Wembley Arena on November 21, but the Russian, who knocked him out in five rounds in August, has tested positive for Covid-19 and the fight has been postponed.

The Briton may have to wait now until next year to get back into the ring unless promoter Eddie Hearn can make headway on a suggestion that he could instead face Tyson Fury or, for the third time, Dereck Chisora in the meantime.

Hearn had earlier tweeted: “Unfortunately we got the news today that Alexander Povetkin is in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

“The fight will now be rescheduled to a target date of Jan 30. An announcement on our Nov 21 show will be made shortly.”

Meanwhile, rugby league’s regular Super League season will draw to an early conclusion this weekend after a fresh spate of cancellations with a format having been agreed for an expanded play-off campaign.

This week’s fixtures will be the last before a six-team Grand Final series kicks off on November 12.

The top two will have a week off while the rest play elimination ties on November 12 and 13 at venues to be announced and the seventh-placed club – Salford or Huddersfield – will remain on standby in the event of further disruption.

Bottom-of-the-table Hull KR had earlier called a halt to their season after reporting “numerous positive results” among the playing bubble after the latest round of tests.

Non-elite football too has been hit by the ongoing pandemic, with the Football Association having confirmed that matches and training in steps three to six of the men’s national league system (NLS) and tiers three to seven of the women’s football pyramid will be suspended during the impending second national lockdown.

The suspension comes into effect from Thursday, with the new restrictions set to last until at least December 2.

An FA statement said: “Restarting football at these levels has taken substantial determination and commitment from stakeholders across the game and The FA would like to thank everyone for their vital contributions.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove issued an apology on Tuesday morning
Cabinet minister Michael Gove issued an apology on Tuesday morning (Victoria Jones/PA)

“However, health and well-being remain the priority, so it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers adhere to the UK Government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions during this period.”

Elite sport will continue, including the FA Cup first round this weekend which features 10 non-elite clubs.

A series of sports, including golf, tennis, cycling, athletics, triathlon and archery, have lobbied the Government for exemptions to lockdown restrictions, and Cabinet minister Michael Gove had to issue an apology on Tuesday morning after wrongly suggesting that playing golf or tennis with just one other person would be allowed.

Gove said on Twitter: “My apologies, I got this wrong. Outdoor leisure facilities including tennis courts and golf courses will be closed from Thursday.”

Former sports minister Richard Caborn has criticised the Government’s decision to effectively mothball grassroots sport for the duration of the month-long lockdown.

Caborn told the PA news agency: “I cannot see why, from the three points of health, mental well-being and the coronavirus itself, the Government has taken the decision it has.”

Golf continues to be affected at elite level with Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew having revealed she has tested positive ahead of the Omega Dubai moonlight Classic.

The Scot tweeted: “I have had to withdraw from the Omega Dubai moonlight Classic after unfortunately testing positive for COVID-19 on my arrival. I am feeling fine and have no symptoms. I would like to thank the
@LETgolf @OMEGAGolfDubai for all their help and support.”

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