Billy Joe Saunders has had to postpone his upcoming bout against Martin Murray at The O2 due to an injury to his hand.
Saunders injury now gives the middleweight champion clear daylight to see how events between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez play out.
Canelo is under investigation over an adverse drug test finding, whilst ‘GGG’ has since been quoted questioning the Mexican’s reputation.
Should the bout fall through, Saunders is then in line for a massive unification with Golovkin in place of defending against Murray this summer.
The Londoner was set to make the fourth defence of his WBO belt against Murray on Apriul 14, at the 02.
The fight is rescheduled for June 23 with an undercard featuring the likes of Ohara Davies, Anthony Yarde and heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois.
Frank Warren issued the following statement with quotes from both fighters.
“I’m gutted for Martin and I’m gutted for the fans,” said Saunders. “I felt my hand go during a session this week and sought medical advice immediately. Unfortunately, I’ve been told that I can’t punch anything for four weeks so we’ve been left with no choice but to withdraw from the date.
“I’d like to thank my promoter Frank Warren for quickly sorting a new date for the fight. My trainer Dominic Ingle will make sure that I’m fit and prepared to put on another show on June 23rd.
“This is an extremely tough sport and these things can happen. It is vital that I’m firing on all cylinders heading into this fight but for now it’s all about recovering properly and focusing on the new June 23rd date.”
“It is extremely frustrating as tickets were going very well and we were all geared up for a fantastic evening of boxing on April 14th,” said promoter Frank Warren. “I apologise to all of the fans that have bought tickets for the April 14th date but all original tickets will be valid for the new June 23rd date.
The announcement has also left a grey cloud hanging over the WBO super-lightweight match-up between Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker.
Flanagan, who aims to become a two-weight world champion, has been assured by Warren of a new date and venue being announced shortly.
Warren added: “We are also working on a new date for the WBO Super-Lightweight World Title fight between Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker. I am speaking with Hooker’s representative Dino Duva and we will be making an announcement this week on where and when this fight takes place.
“It is not straightforward as this is an ordered fight for a Vacant Title but we are working hard to get everything sorted and our priority is to secure Terry his chance to become a Two Weight World Champion”.
An investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission is set to conclude imminently and will ultimately decide whether Golovkin v Canelo 2 goes ahead on May 5.
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95