By Jake Donovan
What once began as a massive Pay-Per-View event for Sky Sports has been pared down to a makeshift main event.
Reigning welterweight titlist Kell Brook (35-0, 24KOs) has been forced to withdraw from his October 24 title defense versus Diego Chaves after sufferng a rib injury during a recent sparring session. The bout was due to headline in his hometown of Sheffield, England.
“It’s always a bitter blow when an injury causes a fight to be postponed, especially so close to the event,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Kell picked up a rib injury in sparring yesterday and spent most of the day at hospital yesterday.”
Moving into the headlining act, Chris Eubank Jr. will make his debut under the Matchroom Boxing banner as he faces Tony Jeter in the first defense of his secondary super middleweight title. Also on the show, Gavin McDonnell puts his unbeaten record on the line versus Jeremy Parodi.
While the show goes on in England, fans in the United States hoping to catch the action live on television are now out of luck. Brook-Chaves was due to headline a special Saturday afternoon edition of Showtime Boxing International. With the main event scrapped, Showtime has opted to go dark on the date.
The date was originally booked as a Pay-Per-View event for Sky Sports. Those plans were thwarted earlier in the month when the centerpiece of a split-site telecast - the World heavyweight championship clash between Wladimir Klitchko and unbeaten Tyson Fury - was postponed. Klitscho withdrew, also due to an injury suffered in training, with their bout postponed until November 28.
Eubank's debut with Matchroom will still headline the October 24 edition of boxing on Sky Sports.
As for when Brook's title defense versus Chaves will be rescheduled, the terms of his healing process will dictate his ring return. He was due to make the third defense of the title he obtained in a gutsy 12-round win over Shawn Porter last August, but his reign pre-empted by a knife attack while on holiday last September.
The unbeaten Brit enjoyed a triumphant return earlier this year, stopping mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan in four rounds this past March in a Sheffield homecoming. The event was followed up by a one-sided drubbing of Frankie Gavin in May.
A showdown with Chaves remains the priority as a third fight in 2015, with hopes that he heals in time to avoid another extended ring absence.
“Kell was desperate to fight but it was simply impossible and we will now look to reschedule the bout for the end of the year,” noted Hearn, whose office will make a full statement on Monday regarding details of full refunds and partial refunds to those fans still attending the show.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.