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HBO pulls Ishida from July 9 Williams bout

HBO executives have changed their minds on allowing Nobuhiro Ishida to serve as the comeback opponent for former two-time welterweight titleholder Paul Williams, according to a report from ESPN.com's Dan Rafael.

The 35-year-old Japanese veteran, who scored a huge upset in April by stopping undefeated James Kirkland in one round, was cleared to fight Williams on an HBO broadcast from Atlantic City on July 9 just a few days ago. However, the choice of Ishida, who was viewed as a soft touch by many in the media and boxing industry, was heavily criticized.

Williams, who hasn't fought since suffering a brutal one-punch second-round knockout to middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, is once again without an opponent for the July 9 date.

Junior middleweight beltholder Sergei Dzinziruk, who is also coming off a stoppage loss to Martinez, and hardnosed pressure fighter Pawell Wolak were two opponents that were reportedly approved by HBO but rejected by Williams' handlers, which include promoter Dan Goossen and manager Al Haymon.  

Perhaps those two credible opponents will be reconsidered by Team Williams or maybe Goossen and Haymon will consider having their fighter fight off HBO for his first comeback bout.

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