MARTIN Ward’s English championship jinx has struck again.
The Hartlepool trained boxer - who fights out of Neil Fannan’s gym - had been due to take on Liverpool’s Mike Robinson at the Stadium of Light on Sunday July 15, but has been forced to pull out with a hand injury.
It is the third time the 24-year-old had been due to challenge for the national belt.
“We’re gutted, we thought this was going to be Martin’s time,” trainer Fannan told SportMail.
“There are no breaks but the doctor ordered no punching for two weeks.
“The fight is just a few Sundays away so there was no alternative.
“It’s bad news but Martin is still young, it’s not like that was his last chance.
“When the injury fully heals we’ll try again may be September time.”
Ward had been due to challenge for the crown in March, only for Scouse opponent Craig Lyon to pull out of the contest because of cuts.
Then promoters Dave Garside and Phil Jeffries exhausted all possible avenues of opponent when they announced their intention to stage an English championship bout at Houghton-le-Spring last month.
Ward instead took on George Gachechiladze, knocking out the Georgian hardman in round eight thanks to a devastating right hook to the body.
The former world cadets silver medallist was forced to tough it out and victory was a painful one with his right hand swelling up after the fight.
Despite the loss of the star attraction, the show, as the cliche says, will go on.
And it is hoped Ward’s younger brother, Tom, will make his professional debut at Sunderland’s football ground.
The 18-year-old, a national junior champion, has turned pro, training alongside his bother at Fannan’s Brierton gym.
Tom is currently waiting on the green light from the British Boxing Board of Control before he can step into the ring.
Unbeaten Hartlepool prospect Peter Cope will top the huge bill when he challenges for the International Masters super-bantamweight title against Redcar’s Gavin Reid.
His Gus Robinson team-mates Greg O’Neil and Callum Winton will both be in action, as will two Fannan fighters, David Dolan and Robert Ismay.