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Zolani Tete has calf injury, withdraws from title defense vs. Omar Narvaez

Bantamweight world titleholder Zolani Tete has suffered a calf injury, forcing him to postpone his mandatory defense against Omar Narvaez, promoter Frank Warren announced on Monday.

Tete and Narvaez were supposed to meet in the main event of Warren's card on Feb. 10 at the Copper Box Arena in London.


"I'm hugely disappointed to have to postpone my fight with Omar Narvaez," Tete said. "Unfortunately, I picked up a calf injury that has severely hindered my training and the only option was to postpone the fight. I train as hard as I fight so there is always a risk of picking up injuries.

"World championship defenses are incredibly tough and it is unsafe fighting when you are not fit. Narvaez is a two-weight world champion so it is vital that I am fully prepared for him. I am determined to put on another explosive performance for my U.K. fans when I face Narvaez. After I beat him the plan is to unify the bantamweight division against (two-belt titlist) Ryan Burnett. It is a fight that the boxing world wants to see and I am hopeful that it will happen in 2018."

Tete (26-3, 21 KOs), 29, a southpaw from South Africa who mainly fights in the United Kingdom, is due to make the second defense of his 118-pound belt. On Nov. 19, in Belfast, Northern Ireland -- Burnett's hometown -- Tete blitzed countryman Siboniso Gonya in just 11 seconds, knocking him out cold with the first punch of the fight, a brutal right hook that made for the fastest knockout ever in a world title fight.

Narvaez (47-2-2, 25 KOs), 42, of Argentina, is a former longtime flyweight and junior bantamweight world titleholder now boxing as a bantamweight in the twilight of his career. He has won four fights in a row since yielding his junior bantamweight belt to Japan's Naoya Inoue in a second-round knockout loss in December 2014.

The card will still go on with previously scheduled bouts from the undercard, Warren said.

British welterweight champion Bradley Skeete (27-1, 12 KOs), 30, of England, will face Laszlo Toth (25-3-1, 17 KOs), 30, of Hungary for a regional title.

British light heavyweight up-and-comer Anthony Yarde (14-0, 13 KOs), 26, will face Tony Averlant (26-9-2, 5 KOs), 33, of France.

"I enjoyed a successful 2017, winning three (regional) belts and stopping all five of my opponents," Yarde said. "2018 is going to be an even bigger year but whatever is meant to happen will happen. I'm not in any rush. My job is to keep my head down, work hard and enjoy the journey.

"I'm hoping that Averlant is a durable opponent. He's only been stopped twice and one of those stoppages was against former WBA light heavyweight world champion Juergen Braehmer. I'm looking to gain some crucial extra minutes in the ring."

In another bout, British heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois (6-0, 6 KOs), 20, will face countryman DL Jones (8-0-1, 0 KOs), 36.

"I'm ready to start 2018 with a bang," Dubois said. "I'm working hard to be the best that I can possibly be and I'm feeling good. Everything is going great, I'm just staying in the gym, staying focused, and staying dedicated to it." Also, junior lightweight Zelfa Barrett (19-0, 12 KOs), 24, of England, will face Ivan Ruiz Morote (18-8-1, 7 KOs), 37, of Spain.

Author: Dan Rafael, ESPN
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