The postponement of Zach Parker’s interim WBO super middleweight fight with Demetrius Andrade means it will not take place at Pride Park, home of Parker’s beloved Derby County football team.
Frank Warren, the promoter, said that around 15,000 tickets had been sold for the fight on May 21, with a bigger boost expected as big ticket seller Nathan Heaney was due to be added to the undercard.
But Andrade, who has won WBO titles at super-welterweight and middleweight, pulled out of the fight with a shoulder injury, which effectively ends the ability to stage the fight at Pride Park.
Because of the World Cup in Qatar in November and December, the new EFL season will start in July. Warren said he saw the Andrade fight as a big step towards building Parker’s name.
“Once we have the medical we will see where we are,” Warren said. “The problem is we are not going to get into Derby again because of the football season. For me it was all about going to Pride Park.
“People were asking why we were bidding all that money. It was because I thought that if we got him into Pride Park we could build something in the Midlands with him. He is capable, he is a good fighter.
“Unfortunately, what has happened has happened. We had done about 15,000 tickets, which at that stage of the game was brilliant for a fella.”
Parker, 27, is unbeaten in 22 fights, but had fought in small halls for the majority of his career. He won the British title with a controversial split decision win over Darryll Williams in 2018, fighting for the majority of the contest one-handed after dislocating his shoulder.
The No 1 position in the WBO rankings with a stoppage of Rohan Murdock in 2020.
He had his first fight after signing for Warren’s Queensberry Promotions in March last year with a two-round stoppage of Vaughn Alexander. He has since produced impressive stoppage wins over Sherzod Khusanov and Marcus Morrison.
“I never knew who he was before we signed him, he was under-promoted,” Warren said. “When I saw him, I couldn’t believe we had missed out on him before.
“He's a great fella to work with.”
Andrade withdrew from the fight after suffering an injury to his right shoulder, although it is still not known how serious the injury is.
The American had appeared at the press conference to announce the fight via Zoom after it emerged his passport had expired. He last boxed in November when he made the fifth defence of his WBO middleweight title stopping Jason Quigley in two rounds. WBO rules gave him the chance to claim a mandatory spot at the weight above.
It was recently announced that Andrade was parting ways with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom camp after Hearn admitted he had been unable to deliver the fights that Andrade wanted.
“If I can’t get him a fight, he’s wasting his time with us,” Hearn told fighthype.com.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.