Joe Calzaghe is intent on taking out his frustrations on Mario Veit after the cancellation of his 16th WBO super-middleweight title defence scheduled for Belfast tonight.
Politics forced promoter Frank Warren to pull the plug on his match with Ulsterman Brian Magee with Calzaghe due to travel to Germany to face Veit in May 7.
That date falls within the 60-day period during which the World Boxing Organisation forbids voluntary defences without the agreement of all parties.
And despite Warren’s best efforts the German television station ZDF, which has domestic rights to Calzaghe versus Veit, refused at the last minute to let the title fight go ahead.
Calzaghe said: “The problem is the Germans and Mario Veit. They are paying me for the pleasure of going out there to destroy him. And believe me after messing me about I will go there and be in the best shape ever and destroy him.”
The King’s Hall bill still goes ahead with the comeback king Eamonn Magee defending his WBU welterweight title against Dane Allan Vester.
Calzaghe beat Veit inside two minutes of their previous meeting in April in 2001. But Veit’s 15 subsequent wins have earned him another mandatory crack at the Welshman’s title.
The match has infuriated Warren who lost no sleep when Veit’s German promoters Universum won the right to stage the fight with a massive purse bid two weeks ago.
Warren said: “I am bitterly disappointed for Joe, Brian and the public who were looking forward to this fight. As Joe has reigned as world champion for nearly eight years with 15 title defences, it is a sad situation that he has not been able to take part in this fight.
“I don’t know why Joe has got to fight Veit again and it is a fight which would be very hard to sell in Britain. But he will go to Germany and knock him out.”
Veit said: “It looks like Joe will have to pay Germany a visit. Clearly he couldn’t avoid the rematch against me forever. I earned the right to challenge him one more time. I can’t stay interim champion for years.”
Magee’s trainer Pat Magee said his fighter was “devastated” by the news despite the promise that he will get another crack at the champion if and when he has disposed of Veit.
Magee, who is no relation to the boxer, said: “As far as I know the Germans have objected to Joe putting his title on the line.
“It is a nightmare for everybody concerned and I have to protect Brian’s position because all this is no fault of ours.”
Magee rejected the opportunity to take a reduced purse and a fight on the undercard, scuppering a projected Irish super-middleweight title fight against Jim Rock at the last minute.
Calzaghe’s enforced withdrawal leaves Eamonn Magee to top the bill one year after an horrific street attack left him fighting for his life in hospital.
Magee was told he would never box again and needed extensive surgery before beginning his amazing comeback.
Magee said: “They had to take the muscle from my calf and put it on the front of my leg.
“There was no muscle around my shin. It was down to the bone when they got me to hospital.”