Laurence Bennett is out of his English cruiserweight title bout against Fylde fighter Matty Askin in Liverpool next month.
After a problem with a scan, the British Boxing Board of Control have said that Bennett will not be allowed to box at the Echo Arena on March 12.
St Annes-based Askin will instead had a new opponent that night – unbeaten prospect Simon Barclay, a two-weight former ABA champion.
Defending champion Askin heard the news while preparing for the fight in Denmark.
Barclay, from Kettering, has won all eight fights as a professional and Askin says he regards his new opponent as tougher than Bennett.
The Askin v Bennett clash had been billed as a grudge match given the circumstances of the first fight between the pair last October.
It ended inside the first round after the pair spilled out of the ring at York Hall in east London.
But 27-year-old Askin had nothing but sympathy after learning about Swindon-based Bennett.
He said: “I don’t know the full reasons behind Bennett not being able to fight me, but I was just hope he is OK and I send out my best wishes to him and his family.
“Barclay has won the ABA titles at light-heavy and heavyweight. I think it will now be a harder fight for me than it would have been had I been fighting Bennett.”
One problem for Askin is that he had been preparing in sparring for a southpaw in Bennett – the 26-year-old Barclay is orthodox.