British heavyweight contenders Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora have trash-talked relentlessly for months leading up to their rematch. They will have plenty of time to continue their war of words with the postponement of their fight on Monday.
Fury and Chisora were scheduled to meet in a much-anticipated bout on Saturday at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, for Chisora's European title as well as in an eliminator to determine one of world champion Wladimir Klitschko's mandatory challengers.
However, Chisora fractured his left hand in his final sparring session, and the fight was postponed, promoter Frank Warren announced. Chisora fractured the hand on Friday sparring with Alexander Ustinov.
Warren said Fury-Chisora II will be rescheduled, although the date and location of the fight have not yet been determined.
Warren also said that Saturday's card would still go on, with the co-feature of Billy Joe Saunders against Emanuel Blandamura for the vacant European middleweight title moving to the top of the bill.
"I can't tell you how disappointed I am to have to pull out of the fight against Fury, but it is on the advice of my specialist that I have to do this," Chisora said. "I'm sorry for the fans who will get to miss this great fight between me and Tyson this Saturday, but once my hand is healed and I'm given the all-clear to train and punch again, I'll be working on the new date for the fight.
"I was in fantastic shape and had a great training camp, probably the best so far in my career, and was looking forward to getting revenge on Fury, but that will have to wait. I'm sorry to have to pull out on Fury, as I know that he had been training hard, and it was going to be a great fight between two top athletes, and I hope we can get it on again soon."
Fury had no immediate comment on the postponement.
Fury and Chisora first met in July 2011 in a much-hyped showdown and engaged in an exciting fight, although Fury pounded his way to a clear decision against an obviously out-of-shape Chisora -- who suffered his first loss -- to win the British and Commonwealth titles.
They went on different paths after the fight with Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), 30, eventually getting a shot at then-world titleholder Vitali Klitschko and losing a lopsided decision in 2012 followed by a fifth-round knockout loss to countryman and former world titleholder David Haye later in the year.
But Chisora has won five fights in a row since, including on a Feb. 15 card that he and Fury shared with the plan being that if they both won, they would meet again. Both came through their bouts, and the rematch was set.
The postponement is another tough break for the 25-year-old Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), who was out of action for 10 months last year and earlier this year when Haye twice had to postpone their scheduled fight -- then canceled it altogether.
They were due to meet in September, but Haye suffered a gash over his left eye in his final sparring session before the fight, and it was postponed until February. Then Haye had to cancel the fight because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Now it is Chisora who has delayed Fury's schedule.
"Everybody involved in the fight worked hard to get it on, and for this to happen on the final week is a big disappointment to everyone," Warren said. "There's no way that Dereck could fight with his hand fractured, and there's no way I would let him get into the ring and fight with an injury like that. Obviously, you've got to feel for Tyson, who, through no fault of his own, has been hit hard by this postponement after all the training he has put in. It's a big heavyweight fight with a lot at stake for both fighters, and we're working hard to get a new date confirmed.
"It's an old cliché, but the show goes on, and despite Chisora versus Fury [being] off the show, a cracking undercard packed with title fights will still go ahead."
Besides Saunders (19-0, 19 KOs) facing Blandamura (22-0, 5 KOs), Liam Smith (16-0-1, 6 KOs) will defend his British junior middleweight title against Jason Welborn (15-2, 6 KO) and Terry Flanagan (24-0, 8 KOs) will face Martin Gethin (24-5-1, 11 KOs) for the vacant British lightweight title.