Marco Huck has finally caught a break this year, only in the worst imaginable way.

The record-tying former cruiserweight titlist was forced to withdraw from a planned showdown versus unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce after suffering a broken hand during a recent sparring session. The bout was due to take place January 11 in Hannover, Germany for the vacant European (EBU) heavyweight title, but with Monday’s news postponing the show altogether.

“Unfortunately, there is no pleasant news on my page,” Huck (41-5-1, 28KOs) announced through his verified Facebook Page on Monday. “During sparring, unfortunately I broke my right hand.

“If you compete in pro sports, unfortunately something like this can happen.”

Huck’s MH Boxing promotional company announced on Monday that the event—for which handlers claimed more than half the tickets have already sold—will be canceled and refunds issued. 

The injury reportedly occurred on Saturday as Huck was training with two separate sparring partners. The initial belief was a severe sprain, only for x-rays to show a break. Per medical orders, Huck cannot resume training for a minimum of four weeks.

The disappointing news comes on the heels of his lone fight of 2019, a 1st-round knockout turned No-Contest versus Nick Guivas this past May at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Huck scored what he believed was two knockdowns, only for replays to show the second such occurrence coming as the result of an accidental foul.

It leaves Huck without a win since a 4th round stoppage of Yakup Saglam last June in Munich, Germany. All told, it’s been a rough stretch for the 35-year old from Berlin, who along with Johnny Nelson shares the mark for most consecutive cruiserweight title defenses in boxing history. His reign ended with an 11th round knockout at the hands of Krzysztof Glowacki in their Aug. 2015 thriller, having won just three of his last six starts since then. Included among that run were title fight losses to Mairis Briedis and Oleksandr Usyk.

The loss to Usyk was his final fight at cruiserweight, moving up to heavyweight where he was prepared to fight for the third straight time.

However competitive he figures to be is open to interpretation. England’s Joyce (10-0, 9KOs) was a considerable favorite to win, even in hitting the road although collecting the most identifiable name on his resume with such a fight. The 2016 Olympic Silver medalist enjoyed three notable wins in 2019, knocking out faded former titlist Bermane Stiverne and veteran fringe contender Alexander Ustinov, before being extended the distance for the first time in his career with a well-earned 12-round win over former title challenger Bryant Jennings this past July at The O2 in London.

The win established a path to challenge for the European heavyweight title, although its claimant at the time Agit Kabayel vacated the strap roughly around the time of inking a promotional deal with Top Rank. A fight was ordered between Joyce and Huck, although those plans are now in tatters.

Interestingly, it clears a path for Joyce to challenge unbeaten countryman Daniel Dubois, who picked up his fourth knockout win this past Saturday. Such a matchup was discussed during the post-fight interview on BT Sport, with the insistence on the Joyce side that they had to first get through a fight with Huck before entertaining such a head-on collision

With no such fight now standing in the way, perhaps better news will come of this development—even if at the expense of Huck’s unlucky run.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox