SPORTS NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENT
WBO World Super-Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe has regrettably been withdrawn from his fight against Brian Magee this Friday night (18 March) at the Kings Hall in Belfast by his promoter Frank Warren after the World Boxing Organisation were unable to sanction it as a world title defence despite vigorous lobbying.
To clarify, the Sports Network show WILL STILL GO
ahead and is now to be headlined with the sensational return of WBU World Welterweight champion Eamonn Magee who defends his title against Allan Vester plus a full supporting undercard.
The Calzaghe-Magee fight was announced in February but was subject to the WBO sanctioning the bout as a world title defence and the consent of Peter Kohl - the German promoter of the Interim Champion Mario Veit whom the WBO had ordered Calzaghe to face in a mandatory defence.
Calzgahe blasted out Veit inside a round in April 2001 yet somehow Veit has managed to be re-instated as Calzaghe's mandatory challenger and therefore the contest holds little attraction to UK television.
The Calzaghe-Veit contest was the subject of a purse bid held on Monday 7 March and was won by Kohl. His bid stipulated that this contest would proceed on 7 May in Hamburg. The WBO's rules are specific that a champion cannot defend his title within 60 days of taking part in the mandatory defence hence the WBO would not sanction the contest without Kohl's approval
In a letter sent to Warren yesterday, Kohl said that subject to German TV broadcaster ZDF not objecting to the fight proceeding he would allow it to go ahead. However, yesterday evening, ZDF clarified the 7 May was the only TV date available for the Calzaghe-Veit bout thereby forcing Warren to abide by the WBO rules and to postpone the bout.
Warren and Calzaghe have assured Irish boxing fans that once he has disposed of Veit on 7 May he will return to the Kings Hall and give Magee first shot at his title.
Warren said, "I am bitterly disappointed for Joe, Brian and the public who were looking forward to this fight. As Joe has reigned as world champion for nearly eight years with 15 title defences, it is a sad situation that he has not been able to take part in this fight," "However, Eamonn Magee headlines a first class boxing event at the Kings Hall on Friday that also involves Irelands top boxers and I am sure the fans will want to turn out anyway to support what will be a memorable night at the Kings Hall,"
Warren continued, "Brian was offered a warm-up fight on Friday night but declined. He will in any event take part in a warm up bout prior to his re-scheduled bout with Joe."
Tickets are still valid for the event on Friday but if any members of the public require a refund they must return their complete tickets to Sports Network together with the details of the agent they purchased them from, to be received by Sports Network no later than Thursday 31 March, 2005 to obtain a refund of the face value of the ticket.