Carl Froch faces relinquishing his IBF world super-middleweight title after announcing an elbow injury will keep him out until early summer.
Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn had been in talks for him to face Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas on March 28. But WBA-IBF world super-middleweight champion Froch, 37, suffered the injury in training which rules him out of fighting on that date.
“I’m disappointed to have to let this opportunity go but at this stage in my career I have to make every fight count,” said Froch. “I will get some treatment and then we will look to make this fight or another big fight in the early summer.”
The IBF had given Froch until January 31 to agree terms on facing DeGale or staging the fight would go out to purse bids. Froch, who knocked out Londoner George Groves last May, will make an announcement about his IBF and WBA belts next week.
“We have been deep in negotiations for some time and we were almost ready to go,” said Hearn. “Carl has gone into fights before not 100 percent fit and paid the price and he has made the right decision to hang fire.
“We will have a meeting early next week and plan out 2015. I’m confident we will see him back in the ring this summer.”
If Froch wants to pursue his dream of fighting in Vegas for the first time in his career later in the year he will have to give up his IBF world title. Relinquishing the IBF belt will leave it free to be contested by Londoner James DeGale, 28, who is mandatory challenger.
American Andre Dirrell, 31, who lost a split points decision to Froch in 2009, is No.2 in the IBF rankings and is most likely to face DeGale for the vacant belt.
Mexican Gilberto Ramirez, 23, is the next in line behind Dirrell in the IBF rankings and boxes Maxim Vlasov, of Russia, on Saturday.
Dane Mikkel Kessler, who has beaten and lost to Froch, and Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding, will also be in the running to face DeGale – possibly at the O2 Arena in London on April 25 – if Froch vacates the belt.