Lucian Bute has pulled out of his clash with fellow Canadian Jean Pascal after suffering a hand injury in training.
The duo had been slated to meet in a light-heavyweight bout in Montreal on May 25 - the same night that rivals Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler go head-to-head at the O2 Arena in London.
It was being billed as the biggest fight in Canadian history, but has now been postponed after Bute sustained damage to his left hand.
"I am very disappointed by this injury. I have never been in better shape," Bute stated. "My preparation was ahead of schedule until late last week.
"Unfortunately, I would be far from my best in my present state. For my own good, I have to take the advice of my doctor and (will) undergo this operation. I feel very sad for the fans."
The 33-year-old southpaw - who was comprehensively beaten by Froch in five rounds last May - will reportedly have surgery this week to remove bone fragments from his hand.
"This situation is heartbreaking," said Bute's trainer Stephan Larouche. "Lucian's preparation surpassed our objectives and now this injury will prevent him from offering his fans a great performance on May 25th.
"We are all very disappointed with this turn of events but the decision to go straight to surgery was the only one to be made as he could no longer use his left hand adequately in training.
"In the past, we made the error of not listening to the signs of distress coming from the body of an athlete. We do not want to make these same mistakes again."
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