RYAN RHODES has pulled out of this month’s European light-middleweight title showdown against Sergey Rabchenko, citing a back injury.
The 35-year-old Ecclesfield light-middleweight - who is thought to have been unhappy recently over a previously signed management contract - has suffered with back problems in the past.
Undefeated Belarusian Rabchenko will now box a non-title eight-rounder on the bill at Ponds Forge Arena on March 24.
Hatton Promotions director of boxing Richard Poxon hopes the battle of stablemates could be re-scheduled for May or June.
Rabchenko, aged 26, said: “I’ve been told Rhodes has a damaged back so what can I do about it? I just hope that when Hatton Promotions make the fight at a later date he doesn’t run away.
“If Rhodes pulls out for a second time then it will be because he knows that I will beat him. This time I forgive him, just about” added 19-fight Rabchenko.
“For now I have to forget about this disappointment and make sure I impress the Sheffield fans.
“I plan on showing them that I would beat Rhodes even in his home city.”