Ovill McKenzie withdraws from bout vs. Marco Huck, citing illness

Former cruiserweight world titleholder Marco Huck's fight with Ovill McKenzie, scheduled for Saturday at the Festhalle Arena in Frankfurt, Germany, was canceled Tuesday when McKenzie withdrew, claiming illness.

Huck (39-3-1, 27 KOs), 31, of Germany, was seeking his second win in a row since Poland's Krzysztof Glowacki scored a major upset 13 months ago in Newark, New Jersey, by rallying for an 11th-round knockout to take the title. Huck entered the fight tied with England's Johnny Nelson for the most title defenses (13) in division history.

Huck rebounded in February to stop rival Ola Afolabi in the 10th round of their fourth battle, and McKenzie was on deck as Huck tries to earn another major title opportunity.

"He is obviously terrified of me," Huck said of McKenzie's withdrawal from the bout.

McKenzie (25-12-1, 13 KOs), 36, a Jamaica native based in England, is unbeaten in five fights in a row since 2013 and coming off perhaps the finest performance of his career when he traveled to Argentina 11 months ago to challenge then-world titleholder Victor Emilio Ramirez and fought him to a draw many thought McKenzie won.

The former British and Commonwealth champion was disappointed to have to pull out of the fight with Huck.

"Naturally, I am absolutely gutted that I have been forced to pull out," said McKenzie, who was going to challenge for Huck's minor belt. "I had been training harder than ever and was in the shape of my life, but unfortunately these things happen in boxing. I was ready to give the performance of my career and cause a real upset against a great champion. I strongly believe that I would have beaten Huck.

"I am sorry to all of my fans who booked tickets, flights and hotels to watch me fight. Medical advice from health professionals cannot be ignored and I believe that we have made the correct decision to withdraw. I hope the fight can be rescheduled."