Cancelled Boxing 2023

2023 was another year in boxing marred by the constant cancellation of fights. We would hear constant noise of fights that would never take place again and again, and cancelled boxing became the norm in 2023. We didn’t get Eubank Jr. vs Benn. We didn’t get Joshua vs Wilder. We didn’t get Fury vs Usyk. Here we take a look at some of the major cancelled boxing in 2023.

Sometimes we get even further down the line. The promoters get the fight agreed, all parties are happy, and we finally have the prospect of a good fight. The build-up and hype begins to start, only for something to derail the event.

These are some of the fights we were promised in 2023, and did not get. We begin in January for the first of the disappointments.

KSI vs Dillon Danis

The first major cancelled boxing bout of 2023 came from the world of Misfits and influencer boxing, as Dillon Danis pulled out of his planned bout against KSI.

Danis had been widely speculated to pull out of the event, but the reasons he provided at the time were truly pathetic. Misfits boss Mams Taylor said at the time of the cancellation:

“The real reason from they said to me is he’s underprepared, he has no coach, he might be struggling with weight even though there’s no rehydration, he has not been able to find a team that’s going to bring him into the fight and he’s got some other issues”.

KSI went on to fight Faze Temper at the Ovo Arena show. Danis did eventually box, as he fought against Logan Paul on the Misfits Prime Card later in October. KSI appeared on the same show, losing in the main event to Tommy Fury.

Eimantas Stanionis vs Vergil Ortiz Jr.

Stanionis vs Ortiz Jr holds a unique place on this last as it was cancelled three different times in 2023. Initially, the bout was set for 18 March, but emergency surgery for Ortiz Jr delayed the contest until 29 April.

The bout was delayed a second time when Vergil Ortiz Jr suffered a recurrence of rhabdomyolysis. There was a third and final cancellation from Ortiz Jr in July, and neither fighter would box in 2023.

Jared Anderson vs Zhan Kossobutskiy

Jared Anderson was due to face then unbeaten Kazakh Khan Kossobutskiy on 01 July 2023. Zhan was denied a visa at late-notice, forcing his removal from the card. Anderson went on to defeat former Heavyweight champion Charles Martin.

Zhan Kossobutskiy did eventually get into the ring in 2023, but he lost to Efe Ajagba via DQ in a contest marred by numerous low blows. Zhan was finally disqualified after landing another combination low blow.

Fabio Wardley vs Frazer Clarke was a highly anticipated bout expected this summer or autumn for the British Heavyweight title. Olympian Frazer Clarke had easily beaten a selection of poor opponents as he began his professional career, and his management team successfully lobbied for a mandatory position with the BBBofC.

No agreement was made between the promoters of the fighters, Matchroom Boxing for Wardley and Boxxer for Clarke, and purse bids were called. On the day of the purse bids, Frazer Clarke withdrew himself from the mandatory position, ending his possibility of challenging for the British title.

Fabio Wardley would go on to successfully defend his belt under the Queensberry Boxing banner in Saudi Arabia against David Adeleye. Clarke had two further contests in 2023, outpointing Marius Wach over 10 rounds and forcing the retirement of Dave Allen.

Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte

Anthony Joshua’s rematch against fellow Brit Dillian Whyte was intended to be a landmark moment for DAZN. The first UK PPV card following the collapse of Eubank vs Benn. Joshua had already made an appearance to regular DAZN subscribers facing Jermaine Franklin in April, and was now stepping up both his competition and his price by facing Whyte.

The bout never materialised after Dillian Whyte failed an anti-doping test in the build-up to the contest. No further news is known since that was revealed back in August.

Joshua and Matchroom Boxing persevered with the card, moving it off PPV and settling for more mediocre opposition. Joshua defeated Robert Helenius with a KO in round 7, and Helenius also failed a post-fight anti-doping test as well.

Reece Mould vs Martin McDonagh

Dolan vs Hopewell

Reece Mould vs Martin McDonagh was due to headline GBM Sports card at Sheffield’s new Park Community Arena. McDonagh pulled out of the fight on the day of the bout due to a failed medical.

Both fighters were removed from the card, with Mould later unsuccessfully challenging Gary Cully on the undercard of Cameron vs Taylor 2.

Hamzah Sheeraz vs Liam Williams

Sheeraz vs Williams

Hamzah Sheeraz vs Liam Williams was due to be the final UK Queensberry card of the year, but this was cancelled and postponed until 2024. Sheeraz pulled out with an injury, causing the card to be moved to to be shifted to a smaller venue. Williams competed on the card against a late notice journeyman opponent.

The bout is now set to take place in February 2024.

Josh Kelly vs Roarke Knapp

JKelly vs Knapp

Josh Kelly’s original opponent Roarke Knapp withdrew in the build-up to his fight night in Sunderland. Knapp was replaced at late-notice by Placido Ramirez.

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