DANNY “Boy” Hughes has been forced to pull out of his fight against France’s number one ranked heavyweight Johann Duhaupas.
The Castletown Kid was hoping to start 2012 with a bang, taking a major step up in class next month after a professional career spent garnering experience so far.
Instead, the 25-year-old heavyweight has been KO-ed by illness less than a fortnight before his fight against the 31-year-old Duhaupas was due to take place in Geneva, Switzerland.
Hughes’ trainer Tommy Conroy said: “It’s devastating news for the lad because he knew how big a fight this was going to be for him.
“It would have made people sit up and take notice of him had he done well in it.
“But there’s nothing you can do about falling ill and we’ve been in touch with the organisers and officially cancelled.”
Hughes reluctantly agreed to drop out on medical advice after weeks spent feeling below par.
His doctors have confirmed that he has a virus which has caused the collapse of his immune system and that he needs to have a complete rest from the sport until his body recovers.
Hughes had been scheduled to fight Duhaupas over eight rounds in a top-of-the-bill clash on Friday, February 10.
However, as well as pulling out of that bout, he has also been forced to cancel what would have been gruelling sparring sessions against world title hopeful Dereck Chisora later this week.
Hughes was in London last week putting himself through two days of punishing sparring with the Zimbabwe-born, London-based heavyweight, who faces WBC champion Vitali Klitschko in Munich on Saturday, February 18.
And he was pencilled in to return to Chisora’s gym at the back end of this week, only to have to ring, apologise and cancel.
Conroy added: “It’s a real blow for Danny and he’s upset about it.
“But I think he just has to focus on getting well now and staying in shape so that once he’s well again, he can get back in the ring again quickly.
“There’s a Sky Prizefighter contest on the horizon and maybe we’ll look at that because all this sparring with the top fighters in the country is improving his skills, his experience and his confidence.
“For the moment though he’s going to have learn that illnesses and injuries are part of the game and these disappointments do happen.”