Lightweight titleholder Terry Flanagan, suffering from severe tendonitis in his left foot, was forced on Wednesday to postpone his title defense against British countryman Derry Mathews, promoter Frank Warren announced.
Flanagan was due to make his second title defense against Mathews on Feb. 13 at Echo Arena in Mathews' hometown of Liverpool, England. Because of Flanagan's foot problem, the fight was postponed until March 12. It will still take place at Echo Arena.
The entire Feb. 13 card is postponed to the new date, Warren said, although one of the undercard fights, British and Commonwealth junior middleweight champion Liam Williams against Nav Mansouri, is off entirely because Williams is ill with a viral infection.
"This is a real blow to me, as I've never pulled out of a fight because of an injury before and I've always fought through them," Flanagan said. "It's not in my fighter's makeup to pull out of fights, and my fans know that about me. I always give them 100 percent when I'm in the ring, no matter what. I've had to take the advice of the medical specialists on this occasion and postpone my defense against Mathews to begin physiotherapy.
"I'll be taking my treatment as seriously as I'm training for a fight, and I will return back to my best, ready to defend my title successfully against Mathews on March 12 at the Echo Arena."
Flanagan (29-0,12 KOs), who is from Manchester, England, won the 135-pound belt in July by second-round knockout against Jose Zepeda when Zepeda dislocated his left shoulder and was unable to continue. In his first defense in October, Flanagan put on a spectacular performance in a second-round knockout of Diego Magdaleno.
"We're all disappointed that Terry has suffered an injury and is unable to make the original date, but we've worked hard to ensure the mouthwatering world title showdown between Flanagan and Mathews remains the top of the bill for the new date," Warren said. "I maintain that it's going to be real war between these two warriors who are going to put everything on the line on the night."
Mathews (38-9-2, 20 KOs) will be fighting for the first time since last April, when he won a close unanimous decision against Tony Luis to claim a vacant interim belt. But Luis never defended it, instead vacating it for a bigger fight against Flanagan for his belt in another organization.