Ricky Burns, the world lightweight champion, has been left on the ropes after learning that his planned World Boxing Organisation title defence against the Mexican Miguel Vazquez has been called off.
The Scot had been due to have his seventh world title contest at Wembley Arena on March 16.
The 29-year-old and his manager, Alex Morrison were given the frustrating news by promoter Frank Warren last night that the bout has been postponed. "While there is talk of the fight being rescheduled within 30 days, Ricky and I are very unhappy," said Morrison.
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No precise details are available to explain the call-off but the March 16 bill had already run into trouble after it was announced earlier in the day that Commonwealth super-middleweight champion George Groves had split with Warren. The Englishman had been scheduled to fight Mohamed Ali Ndiaye for the vacant European crown on the Burns undercard but it was revealed that 24-year-old Groves has taken the unexpected decision to team up with another promoter.
Rumours had persisted for the past fortnight that Vazquez was unhappy with the terms offered by Warren and had refused to sign a pre-fight contract. But Warren continually played down fears that the Burns fight was under threat, insisting Vazquez's manager had agreed the deal.
However, it seems there is substance to the reports claiming that 26-year-old Vazquez had refused to fulfil any obligation to defend his International Boxing Federation title in a unification bout.
It is the second time in three months that Burns has been left high and dry. A planned defence against Jose Ocampo in December was called off just days before they was due to fight in London. On that occasion, Burns was told less than 96 hours before the fight that Ocampo withdrawn. Burns' original opponent, Norfolk's Liam Walsh, pulled out after he was injured in a car crash.
Burns was later made a derisory offer of a non-title 10-round international bout, which the Scottish fighter promptly refused. "I'm scunnered," said Burns at the time. "The whole thing is a joke."
Burns has been left high and dry for the second time in a month