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Richar Abril's title defense postponed

Lightweight titlist Richar Abril has been hit by a viral infection, which has caused him to drop out of a defense against England's Derry Mathews on March 6 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, promoter Frank Warren announced on Friday.

Warren said that Abril's viral infection, which might be Dengue fever -- test results were not back yet -- left him unable to train and he was advised not to fight.

"It's very unfortunate that this has happened and Derry will have to wait just a little longer to get his world title opportunity," Warren said. "We hope that Richar recovers from his viral infection quickly and is able to get back into training to defend his title against Derry as soon as possible, which we are all really looking forward to."

Abril attorney Gregory Bloom said their side hopes to reschedule the bout when Abril is medically cleared and able to resume full training.

"We definitely want to have Abril defend his title against Derry Mathews and it is our hope that we can reschedule the fight for early April or as close to that time frame as possible," Bloom said.

Even with Abril-Mathews off, Warren said the show will go on with the other world title bout scheduled serving as the headliner as South Africa's Zolani Tete (19-3, 16 KOs) is due to defend his junior bantamweight belt against England's Paul Butler (17-0, 8 KOs), a former bantamweight titlist dropping down in weight to challenge for another belt.

"Despite Richar's withdrawal, it's a fantastic show with Paul aiming to be the first British fighter in nearly a hundred years to win a second world title in a lighter weight division," Warren said.

It's the second time this year Abril has had a fight fall through. He was originally scheduled to defend his 135-pound title against England's Anthony Crolla on Jan. 23 in England. But Crolla was forced to withdraw after he suffered a fractured skull and broken ankle in a confrontation with burglars of a neighbor's home.

Abril (19-3-1, 8 KOs), 32, a native of Cuba living in Miami, has made two successful defenses. The 31-year-old Mathews (36-9-2, 7 KOs) is a former British and Commonwealth champion who has won two bouts in a row and was getting an unexpected title opportunity.