Greg O’Neil has been forced to pull out of his challenge for the Northern Area super-middleweight title.
The Hartlepool and Horden boxer damaged his back in training at the Gus Robinson Developments gym last night as he continued his build-up to Friday’s clash with Andrew Buchanan in Gateshead.
We feel for the promoters and for Andrew, but we’re upset for ourselves too.PETER COPE
After waking up in pain today, O’Neil went to the doctors who diagnosed a back spasm, forcing him to withdraw from the show.
O’Neil v Buchanan had the makings of a derby classic – the clever and experienced Geordie coming under threat from his raw and powerful younger rival.
“We were just finishing off training when he felt something,” said Gus Robinson Developments head coach Peter Cope.
“When he woke up, he was in a lot of discomfort so went to have it checked.
“He’s had a muscle spasm and he’s got no real movement.
“It’s not like you are carrying a bit of a cold that you might get through on the night.
“This is a back problem and there’s no way he could do any fight, never mind a 10-round title fight.
“Greg’s gutted, I’m gutted, we all are.
“The promoters are obviously unhappy the fight has been called off with 48 hours to go, and we’ve been through things like this before when people have pulled out and shows have been called off.
“But it can’t be helped, Greg is injured.
“You don’t train for four weeks to pull out two days before.
“We feel for the promoters and for Andrew, but we’re upset for ourselves too.
“Greg had a genuine chance against Andrew.”
With the main event having bitten the dust, promoter Steve Wraith took the difficult decision to call off the show.
A downhearted Wraith said: “It’s with deep regret that I have to announce the cancellation of the Summer Showdown.
“The withdrawals of O’Neil, and Halsall meant that it was impossible to stage a show.
“It’s a devastating blow if I’m honest and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this low in the 10 years that I have promoted boxing both unlicensed and professional.”