British heavyweight contender Tyson Fury is trading in one journeyman opponent for another.
Fury had been scheduled to face Gonzalo Omar Basile of Argentina in a 10-round bout Feb. 15 at Copper Box Arena in London. However, the 39-year-old Basile (61-8, 28 KOs) -- knocked out in seven of his eight defeats, including four times inside two rounds -- withdrew from the fight Wednesday because of a lung infection.
Taking Basile's place is Minnesota club fighter Joey Abell (29-7, 28 KOs), a 32-year-old southpaw who has been knocked out five times, including in three of his last five bouts.
"Abell is big and he can punch -- just what I want on my comeback," Fury said. "One thing I do respect about him is his power. He's got a great knockout record and in the heavyweights it only takes one shot to turn things around."
Fury is fighting in the co-feature of the Integrated Sports PPV card (4 p.m. ET) headlined by fellow British heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora (19-4, 13 KOs), who faces Kevin Johnson (29-4-1, 14 KOs), 34, of Atlanta. If Chisora, 30, and Fury, 25, win their bouts, promoter Frank Warren said he intends to match them in a rematch in June. Fury won a decision against Chisora in July 2011.
Fury has not fought since last April, when he got knocked down by former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham in the second round but rallied for a seventh-round knockout victory. Fury was due to next face former world titleholder David Haye of England in a heavily hyped fight, but Haye twice pulled out on Fury because of injuries and the fight was canceled.
Regardless of whom he is fighting, Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) is anxious to get back into the ring after the unexpected layoff.
"[Abell will] have confidence in seeing that I was floored by Cunningham and he'll want to have a good go," Fury said. "He likes to get things done early with a lot of knockouts coming in the first few rounds. Who knows? He could land one on me. This is his big chance to make a name and upset the future of the heavyweight division.
"I love these American opponents. They have all the talk, but I hope and pray that he does bring it on and comes at me swinging away because it will be one hell of a tear up. There's one thing I don't come off second best on, and that's a fight."
Should Fury and Chisora make it through the Feb 15 bouts, the summer rematch could be an elimination bout that would make the winner a mandatory challenger for one of champion Wladimir Klitschko's belts.
"I'm in perfect shape and even though Abell is a late substitute there's no way he'll knock me off course for my summer rendezvous with Mr. Chisora, who's got his own Yank to deal with in Johnson," Fury said. "I'll do my job, and if he's does his, then we're all set for a summer settler."