The pair were originally due to meet on March 6 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, although Abril pulled out through illness and the same situation has now arisen for their scheduled April 18 bout.
Dissapointed promoter Frank Warren is in dialogue with the WBA in order to save the Merseyside show a week on Saturday and will at least hope Mathews can fight for a fringe WBA title if Abril won’t vacate.
‘Following reports that WBA World Lightweight Champion Richar Abril has withdrawn from his contracted defence against Derry Mathews on Saturday 18th April at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, through illness, Queensberry Promotions have issued this statement.
‘We have been made aware of Abril’s withdrawal and are in discussions with the World Boxing Association and representatives of Richar Abril as to the current position of the world title as this is the second time he has withdrawn from this fight with less than two weeks before fight night. We expect to hear from the WBA shortly and will make an announcement through this office. However, we fully expect Mathews to contest a version of the WBA World Championship on Saturday 18th April.’
Mathews, 31, has been left devastated by the news, but remains fully focused to fight next week in whatever opportunity comes his way.
“Thanks for support. Abril hasn’t just let me down, he’s let down the people who have spent there time and money getting me ready,” said Mathews. “But things happen in life for a reason and April 18th I will be crowned champion. I have prepared the best ever for 12 weeks.”