As BoxingScene.com first reported, Jermell Charlo will now have to face Jorge Coto on June 23rd, after his original opponent, WBC junior middleweight champion Tony Harrison, withdrew with an ankle injury.
The contest will still take place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Last December, Harrison won a controversial twelve round decision over Charlo to capture the WBC crown.
The 29-year-old Charlo will now have to wait for his opportunity to avenge the only loss of his career and regain his title against Harrison.
Fighting out of Houston, Texas, Charlo won the vacant WBC title with a devastating knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. He made three successful defenses of the title with highlight-reel knockouts over Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin, plus a majority decision win over former champion Austin Trout.
"It feels like a heartbreak," said Charlo.
"I was ready to destroy Tony Harrison and now I'm going to get in there and destroy Cota. I always pray for my opponent to have safe care and make it to the fight healthy. It's unfortunate that Tony Harrison isn't my next victim. I want the best Harrison so I want him healed up and ready to go, because that will only bring out the best in me.
"I feel my title was taken from me and being held hostage and I want it back. I will go through anything to get it back. The moment he's cleared to fight I want the match and I will get my title back. I'm going in June 23 for a dominant victory with a ferocious attitude and a mindset to destroy, because I know I can't leave it to the judges anymore.''
Harrison's injury is the latest twist in the super welterweight division that started last December when Harrison and Charlo's first encounter took place live on FOX. Harrison won the decision to upset Charlo and take away the title. The close nature of the bout helped warrant an immediate rematch that promises to be just as highly charged and dramatic. Julian "J-Rock'' Williams scored a hard-fought unanimous decision over Jarrett Hurd as the IBF and WBA titles changed hands as well in May.
This setback for Harrison, who is from Detroit and was trained early in his career by the late Emanuel Steward, is another challenge for the 28-year-old champion. Harrison was on track for a title shot before suffering the first loss of his career in 2015 to Willie Nelson. After three-straight wins, he earned a shot at the vacant 154-pound title against Jarrett Hurd. Although Harrison had strong moments in the fight, he eventually lost to Hurd and was forced to again climb to the top. After another three victories, including a win over former champion Ishe Smith, Harrison took advantage of his second world title opportunity against Charlo.