East Durham’s championship confrontation is off.
Darren Surtees has been forced to pull out of the maiden defence of his Northern Area title against neighbour, and friend, Anth Hardy after going down with tonsillitis.
The duo were scheduled to meet at the Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, July 16.
Surtees has never been floored before, but has now, meaning the intriguing battle between the big-hitting Thornley light-welterweight and the slick Horden southpaw must wait.
The 22-year-old only won the vacant belt last month at Houghton with a sixth-round stoppage of Ross Jameson, the fifth victory out of seven inside the distance.
Hardy’s camp had sympathy for Surtees, though trainer Peter Cope said the postponement is just the latest instalment of a book-full of misfortune for his boxer.
“I’m not sure there is an unluckier boxer anywhere than Anth,” said the Gus Robinson Developments head coach. “But it can’t be helped – it’s boxing.
“We feel for Darren – he was getting to make his first defence at a great show and venue.
“I’ve been lucky to have been involved in the top of the bill at the Summer Rumble before and it’s a fantastic event.
“But it can’t be helped. If it had been a four-rounder, Darren might have been OK for the show, but this is a 10-round title fight.
“As I said when the fight was made, I like the lad and get on great with his coach, Dave Binns, so I hope all’s well with him soon.
“I’m gutted for Anth. I don’t know how many top fights he’s missed out on now.
“Last year. injury put him out of a Northern Area title bout with Lee Mould and then his English title eliminator with Freddy Kiwitt was called off after he failed a medical.
“After having the laser surgery on his eyes, we were hoping 2017 might be the year he gets a break. But he’s only 25 and time, and talent, is still on his side.”
The Gus Robinson Developments camp is in action tonight when Jordan Ellison makes his first appearance since February.
Ellison heads into another prospect’s backyard when he takes on Ryan Wheeler in Somerset over six rounds.
The 21-year-old was one of the country’s busiest boxers in 2016, boxing 11 times in a hectic nine-month period, all ‘on the road’.
But his sole appearance this year came in February in Hull, where he ended the unbeaten record of American Jake Wooley.
“Jordan has become a victim of his own success,” shrugged Cope ahead of the bout at the quaintly-named Cheese & Grain Hall in Frome.
“He’s gone away and ruined so many home boxers’ records now that people are scared to go anywhere near him. But it’s great he’s back in action, he’s fit and raring to go.”