Josh Kelly is out of his welterweight clash with David Avanesyan with just hours to go, World Boxing News can exclusively reveal.
Citing a late-minute illness, the ‘Pretty Boy’ is no longer part of the televised Kell Brook v Michael Zerafa biil.
WBN caught up with a shocked Neil Marsh, manager of Avanesyan, who gave his own take on the situation.
“I’ve never in my life spoke badly of any fighter but trust me Josh Kelly and Adam Booth are complete bottle jobs,” said Marsh in an initial tweet.
“Their behaviour has been disgusting! The fight v David Avanesyan is off. They changed the fight from twelve rounds to ten and then pulled out!
“I’m gutted, to say the least,” he added.
Speaking exclusively to WBN a short time ago, Marsh said: “They say Josh is ill but it’s questionable to me. It’s obvious Josh and Adam know his career is on the line and they want no part of it.
“There’s definitely been a nervousness about Josh Kelly and his team’s behaviour. Now this has happened.
“We thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport for the opportunity. But we’d like to apologise to the Sky Sports viewers as the fight is off.
“David Avenesyan was in the best shape of his life and we knew he would beat Josh Kelly.
“I’m absolutely gutted, as you can imagine. David and his trainer Carl Greaves has wasted weeks in camp for a pull-out.”
Kelly was set to defend his 8-0 record against the former WBA champion in a hotly-anticipated match-up.
Avanesyan, who holds a career-best victory over boxing legend Shane Mosley, was ready to embark on a comeback from a February loss.
The contest was a standout on the bill at Sheffield Arena, although the card is now down to nine bouts.
BOXING STARTS 17:00
4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
CALLUM HANCOCK 12st 1lb 9oz v IVAN NIKOLOV 12st 2lbs
6 x 2 mins Lightweight contest
TERRI HARPER 9st 9lbs 2oz v FERICHE MASHAURY 9st 9lbs 5oz
18:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK
6 x 3 mins Welterweight
ANTHONY TOMLINSON 11st 6lbs 1oz v INNOCENT ANYANWU 10st 6lbs
6 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest
QAIS ASHFAQ 9st 3oz v JAY CARNEY 8st 12lbs 7oz
19:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
8 x 3 mins Super-Featherweight contest
KID GALAHAD 9st 6lbs 1oz v BRYAN MAIRENA 9st 4lbs 12oz
10 x 3 mins Super-Welterweight contest
ANTHONY FOWLER 10st 13lbs 6oz v JOSE CARLOS PAZ 11st 3lbs 2oz
12 x 3 mins Final Eliminator for IBF Super-Featherweight Championship
JONO CARROLL 9st 3lbs 6oz v GUILLAUME FRENOIS 9st 3lbs 5oz
12 x 3 mins Final Eliminator WBA Super-Welterweight Championship
KELL BROOK 10st 10lbs 2oz v MICHAEL ZERAFA 10st 13lbs 8oz
4 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
SHAKIEL THOMPSON 11st 6lbs 1oz v KONSTANTIN ALEKSANDROV 11st 9lbs 1oz