MARTIN Ward must wait another two months for his crack at the Commonwealth title.
The Hartlepool banatmweight has been forced to pull out of his big championship fight with Gabriel Laryea with a back problem.
Ward and Laryea were due to slug it out for the vacant 8st 6lb belt at Houghton-le-Spring a week on Saturday.
They will now meet in December on a date and at a venue still to be decided.
Promoter Phil Jeffries said: “I feel gutted for Martin and Neil Fannan.
“But they have been in professional boxing a long time and know these things happen.
“Martin will fight for the title but he’ll just have to wait a couple of months.”
Fannan admitted there was a feeling of “frustration” but said he and manager Dave Garside could afford to take no risks.
“It’s an inconvenience not the end of the world,” said the Hartlepool trainer.
“Martin’s had a problem with his back and shoulder which have made it painful when he hooks.
“There is no point taking any risks now, this an important time in his career.
“It’s not make or break but if we risked it and lost that would be two title defeats.
“Of course there’s a bit of frustration but Martin’s taken it really well.
“In fact, he’s stayed in the gym and done stuff that isn’t affected by his injury.”
The show will still go on at the Rainton Meadows Arena with a new top of the bill.
The North-East derby for the vacant English lightweight title between Sunderland’s Kirk Goodings and Boro’s ex-Commonwealth champ Paul Truscott will headline the event.
“It’s a cracking fight,” said the Wearside fight figure.
“Kirk will fight anyone and we know all about Paul and what a good boxer he is.
“It’s a 50-50 bout and a worthy top of the bill.”
Hartlepool and district talent is well represented on the show.
Gus Robinson Developments southpaw Anth Hardy faces a battle of the unbeaten young pros against Newcastle’s Chris Bennett, while exciting new Hartlepool pro Mick Hadfield will also have his second pro contest.
Easington’s Paul Archer is lined up for his first appearance since February.
Jeffries added: “I take my hat off to Hardy and Bennett – both lads have had one fight and won it and know pretty much, unless it’s a draw, that one of their records is going to go.
“But they have the bottle to go in and fight each other.”
For ticket info, contact Anth on 07969843203