Kubrat Pulev was less than two weeks away from a world title shot, when he suffered a shoulder injury.
He was in full training to challenge WBA, IBO, IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua before a crowd of 70,000 fans in Cardiff - with Showtime and Sky Sports Box Office showcasing the event.
After Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) withdrew, he was replaced by the next IBF challenger in line, Carlos Takam, who accepted the fight on short notice but was fully training as a backup opponent for the possibility of replacing Pulev.
Pulev has won five fights in a row since suffering a knockout loss in his last world title shot, against Wladimir Klitschko, in November 2015.
He says the opportunity, and the millions of dollars that he would have made, is not enough to risk his health and boxing future.
"I am aware that the news of my injury and the subsequent cancellation of the game between me and Anthony Joshua for the world title surprised you. It wasn't easy for me to make that decision! I know, in my place, almost everyone would choose to get into the ring in Cardiff, despite everything and collect a few million," Pulev stated.
"Anyone else, but not me! In my life and in my world, it's not all money. I've learned that a man goes into battle to win it. I understand that despite the vicissitudes of life, a man should not cheat on his beliefs. Anthony Joshua has to defend world titles against a strong rival and I'm glad he already has one.
"I'm still more thirsty for this battle, and I think it's only a matter of time. It is such challenges that make my heart beat hard and feel that I am truly alive. In a week's time, we tried everything to heal the injury, but everything needs its own. I take it as a sign. If God decided, then that's how it was meant to be. Still, I will be myself and I will not betray my principles. A few million won't make me richer or happier.
"My wealth is the undying love of the Bulgarian people, from whom I always buy strength and inspiration and that gives me the meaning of everything I do! Thank you from the heart of all Bulgarians for faith and support! We're moving on!"