As The Boxing World Turns: A Storm of Cancellations – A man entering the boxing business had best have a strong constitution. The business is replete with examples of Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong, will. In the last week alone, three important matches fell out.
Saturday’s fight at Frankfurt, Germany, between Marco Huck (pictured) and Ovill McKenzie fell apart when McKenzie withdrew, claiming an illness, the details of which he did not disclose. A long-reigning WBO world cruiserweight champion prior to getting upset by Krzysztof Glowacki, Huck was quietly building a resume with Hall of Fame potential. McKenzie, from Derby, England, by way of Kingston, Jamaica, has a so-so record (25-12-1) but is a late bloomer with a well-documented reputation as a spoiler.
Informed of the cancellation, Marco Huck made this statement: “Although injuries and illness can always happen, especially in the sport of boxing, I can’t shake off the feeling that McKenzie is just petrified of fighting me.” It isn’t known if the match will be reborn at some future date.
McKenzie is promoted by Frank Warren who won the purse bid to stage Chris Eubank Jr’s defense of his British middleweight title against Tommy Langford. Warren planted the fight in Cardiff, Wales, on Oct. 22. But Eubank pulled out, citing an elbow ailment, an injury verified by a note from a doctor approved by the British Boxing Board of Control.
In announcing the pullout, a spokesman for Team Eubank issued this statement: “There has not been a fighter in the history of British boxing who has had such a vast chasm of fighting prowess between him and the contenders for the British championship in ability, speed, strength, accuracy, and skill….Chris Eubank Jr’s management team will use the injury as an opportunity to step aside and fight high-caliber world competition.”
Frank Warren, who has been part of the British boxing scene for parts of four decades, was beside himself. Referencing Eubank’s alleged injury as “tennis elbow,” he wrote that this is a curious injury for a man who has no balls.
The Eubanks have now burned bridges, or so it seems, with both of England’s top boxing promoters. In a campaign orchestrated by his father, the younger Eubank pressed for a match with Gennady Golovkin. Matchroom Boxing honcho Eddie Hearn tried to make it happen, but eventually threw up his arms in frustration at the Eubanks’ unreasonable demands and went with Kell Brook.
News of another evacuation arrived on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Andy Ruiz has pulled out of his match with Hughie Fury. They were scheduled to fight on Oct. 29 in Manchester in the main preliminary bout underneath Tyson Fury’s heavyweight title defense against Wladimir Klitschko. The jury is still out on Ruiz (29-0, 19 KOs) who has been matched very soft, but on paper this was a winnable fight for him, notwithstanding the hostile venue.
Ruiz gave no reason for pulling out. A spokesperson for his promoter, Top Rank, provided no specifics but made it clear that the company was disappointed in Ruiz’s decision.
As for Hughie Fury’s next opponent, well-traveled 44-year-old Tony Thompson, last seen getting blasted out by Luis Ortiz, has thrown his hat in the ring. If Thompson should get the call, Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs) will almost certainly keep his undefeated record intact without much exertion.
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