Calzaghe defence floored by WBO rule

Joe Calzaghe’s WBO super-middleweight title defence against Brian Magee in Belfast tomorrow has been cancelled.

Joe Calzaghe’s WBO super-middleweight title defence against Brian Magee in Belfast tomorrow has been cancelled.

Calzaghe has fallen foul of a World Boxing Organisation rule which does not permit a fighter to make a voluntary defence less than 60 days prior to an enforced mandatory.

Calzaghe was earlier this month ordered to defend against his number one contender Mario Veit in Germany on May 7.

Veit’s German promoters Universum protested over Calzaghe’s match against Magee and their argument was accepted by the WBO.

Eamonn Magee will now top the King’s Hall bill in his WBU welterweight title fight against Allan Vester.

An official WBO regulation states: "Within the 60 days prior to the date of the compulsory defence, no world champion shall sign a contract for the defence of his title, nor defend it against a boxer other than the mandatory challenger, unless authorised by the world championship committee."

Promoter Frank Warren is understood to have reached agreement with Universum and the WBO for the fight to take place.

But ZDF, the German channel due to broadcast Calzaghe versus Veit, insisted on blocking tomorrow’s contest fearing an upset could put their investment in doubt.

The news represents another major blow for Calzaghe who had hoped to make 2005 the defining year of his career.

The Welshman, who is undergoing a messy divorce, recently pulled out of a projected title defence on February 11 citing the need for more time to prepare.

He was floored in the fourth round of his last contest against awkward Egyptian Kabary Salem in Glasgow in October.

Calzaghe knocked out Veit in the first round in their previous meeting in Cardiff in April 2001.

But 15 subsequent victories including a stoppage of former Calzaghe foe Charles Brewer in his last fight earned Veit another shot at the title.

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