Martin Ward must wait for his next chance of championship glory after Summer Rumble organisers were forced to admit defeat in his English title fight.
The gifted West Rainton boxer had been due to meet Leigh Wood at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, July 5, for the vacant super-bantamweight belt.
But opponent Leigh Wood became the second opponent to pull out, the Yorkshire boxing citing an injury, following on from unbeaten Kent fighter Lewis Pettitt withdrawing from the process to concentrate on another title route.
Promoter Phil Jeffries had sought a new opponent for the Neil Fannan and Dave Garside southpaw but, with nothing forthcoming, will now put him on over six rounds.
“I’m not a fan of the expression marking time because he will still get a competitive fight,” said Fannan. “It’s non-productive to get just anyone.
“But it’s disappointing that Martin is not going to get the bout he deserves or needs.
“Pettitt was the first to pull out, and then Wood’s camp said he was injured, but I’m not totally sure if they were ever going to fight.
“We’ve looked to get someone else in, and you’d think there would be a taker or two out there, given the winner of this fight becomes a mandatory challenger for the British title.
“But we’ve still had no joy.
“We will get Martin a test, but he’s going to be boxing over six rounds. He’s a championship boxer and we’re hoping he’ll be in for a title before too long.”
Both Martin and younger brother Tommy, are lined up for the show, which now looks set to be headlined by the Northern Area lightweight championship derby between Peter Cope and John Green.
Fannan said the collapse of the Ward v Wood battle potentially opened up the way for Tommy to have a bigger fight, only to draw a blank there too.
“We could not afford to put major fights on for Martin and Tommy,” added Fannan. “But when Martin’s bout fell through, we tried to get something big for Tommy.
“That has not happened either and we’re a bit gutted.
“Tommy had been due to box Dai Davies, but Dai has a re-match coming up with Josh Wale, so he’s concentrating on that. Tommy will also have a six-rounder but he will box for titles down the line. Me and Dave have very high hopes for him.”
“We tried to get Mike Roberts, who’s had 16 wins out of 16, and they seemed to want the fight, then came back wanting ridiculous money.