A July 14, EPIX-televised heavyweight title defense by WBA “regular” beltholder Alexander Povetkin has been canceled due to an injury suffered by challenger and former two-time beltholder Hasim Rahman, promoter Sauerland Events announced on Friday.
Former light heavyweight titleholder, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, the trainer of Rahman (50-7-2, 41 knockouts), told RingTV.com that the fighter had to pull out of the bout with Povetkin (24-0, 16 KOs) as a result of a large cyst on his left wrist.
Muhammad said that Rahman had the cyst removed during a Thursday morning surgery, but that the problem is severe enough to prevent him from training for the fight, which was slated to take place in Hamburg, Germany.
“The number one WBA-ranked heavyweight needed an operation to remove a cyst on his right hand, and therefore, is not able to fight Povetkin,” read the statement released by Sauerland Events. “To find a fitting replacement for a heavyweight title shot in such a short space of time is unrealistic.”
Povetkin, 32, is coming off a disputed majority decision over cruiserweight titleholder Marco Huck in February.
“I am very disappointed,“ said Povetkin. “The preparations were going really well. I am in great shape. Obviously I wanted to show that inside of the ring and do a good job.”
Chris Meyer, managing director of Sauerland Events, told RingTV.com that he thought the WBA’s next available contender was Germany’s Robert Helenius (17-0, 11 KOs), but that Helenius has a shoulder injury.
“There are a couple guys. We have Helenius and some other guys. Helenius is the next one in line, but he’s injured. It’s been his shoulder since December,” said Meyer.
“But we called off the show today, and now, we await the WBA’s analysis of the case and for them to make a decision about what is to happen next.”
Rahman’s promoter, Greg Cohen, said he believed that a Povetkin-Rahman fight still could take place in the future.
“Rahman’s the mandatory challenger for the WBA, and it was contemplated in our contract that in the event of an injury what would happen,” said Cohen.
“The fight needs to be rescheduled. We’re not an elective title defense where they can say, ‘we don’t want to fight Rahman’ Rahman’s next fight will be for the heavyweight championship of the world, it’s just that simple.”
Meyer said that whether or not Rahman remains the mandatory challenger lies with the WBA.
“Rahman is the mandatory contender. If he’s not confirmed as mandatory anymore, then, of course, we’ll go to the one that we are ordered to fight. We will take what comes,” said Meyer.
“It’s not like we’re at a restaurant and you get to choose from the menu. It’s like you’re at a high school, and you have to eat whatever you get served. So we will go down the ratings, and whatever the WBA decides to do, we’ll take it.”
Cohen said he believes Rahman will be ready to go when the time comes.
“Rahman’s only out for two to three weeks. So, we’re already working on rescheduling and it really comes down to the television scheduling issue than anything else,” said Cohen.
“I would like the fight to happen as soon as possible. Rock will be back in the gym on Monday. He’ll be running and everything else other than using his left hand.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com