Oakland (California): A super-middleweight unification showdown between England`s Carl Froch and unbeaten American Andre Ward was postponed after Ward suffered a cut over his right eye in training.
World Boxing Association champion Ward, 24-0 with 13 knockouts, was to have faced World Boxing Council champion Froch, 28-1 with 20 knockouts, on October 29 at Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The cut, which took seven stitches to close, came during a sparring session on Thursday in Oakland, Ward`s hometown. No new date was immediately set for the fight, the long-awaited conclusion to the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
"Bad News: I sustained a cut in sparring a few hours ago... flew to LA to see the Doc. I got 7 stitches. I will let you know the new date soon," Ward posted on his Twitter account.
Ward described the injury as a fluke cut that came during a close exchange of punches.
"I`m extremely disappointed," Ward said. "We used every precaution, including headgear with a face bar, and it was just a fluke situation. My sparring partner and I were involved in an exchange inside and the next thing I knew, I was bleeding.
"That`s the most frustrating thing about this -- I don`t have an explanation for how it happened."
Froch was outraged at the delay, saying the five weeks before the fight is plenty of time for Ward to heal.
"This is absurd and unprofessional," Froch said. "Ward needs to get his act together.
"Of course, you`ve got to take the medical advice seriously, but for a cut to put you out of a fight a full five weeks before the event is ludicrous.
"If it were two weeks out from the fight, maybe I would understand, but he has got 35 days to deal with it.
"To me, he`s showing his weakness. Nothing changes for me. I`ll be ready if and when he shows up."
Plastic surgeon Paul Wallace sealed the cut in Los Angeles. Ward will have the stitches removed next Thursday.
"This is very frustrating for my camp and I knew that if the shoe was on the other foot and Froch suffered an injury, I would be extremely disappointed," Ward said.
"We were in full camp and counting down the days until October 29. At this point, I`m looking forward to healing up and getting a new date to finish what I started and become the Super Six champion."
Ward`s injury was the latest in a series of mishaps that have befallen the six-man tournament, injuries causing delays and fighters to drop out as the 18-month event will need more than two years to complete.
Promoter Dan Goosen said that the fight might not take place until early next year but Froch`s promoter, Eddie Hearn, said his fighter "will take this in his stride and be ready for victory on a date given in 2011."
Froch suffered the first loss of his career in the second round-robin fight to Mikkel Kessler, who later dropped out of the tournament with an injury, but the Englishman advanced to the semi-finals and beat Glen Johnson in June to reach the final.