Anthony Joshua withdraws from fight against Kevin Johnson due to back injury
Last Updated: 13/01/15 1:13pm
Anthony Joshua has been forced to pull out of his fight against Kevin Johnson after aggravating a back injury.
The 25-year-old heavyweight sustained a pars stress fracture in his back which required immediate medical attention, ruling him out of the clash with Johnson at London’s O2 Arena on January 31.
He is facing a spell away from the gym, but is expected to resume training for his next scheduled fight in Newcastle on April 4.
Following 10 stoppage wins, Joshua had hoped to test his ring skills against the former world title challenger, who has never been knocked out.
"I trained so hard over Christmas and the press conference with Johnson was so lively that I was really looking forward to putting in a great performance,” said Joshua.
“It’s bad news for myself and for the fans that have bought tickets. I hope to be able to put on a fan zone at the weigh-in and the fight itself to meet the fans.
I will be competing many times this year, but this injury is something that I need to get sorted as soon as possible.
"I will be competing many times this year, but this injury is something that I need to get sorted as soon as possible.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that Joshua originally injured his back before his first-round victory over Michael Sprott in November.
"It's disappointing to lose Anthony from this great card but after receiving news from the scan, he was left with no option but to rest his back,” said Hearn.
“He picked up a niggle in the Sprott camp and had a good month rest after, but it hasn't been 100 per cent in camp and the results gave him no option. He hopes to resume punching in early February and come back with a bang in Newcastle on April 4.”
The London bill will still go ahead, with Kevin Mitchell hoping to secure a lightweight world title shot when he faces Daniel Estrada in a final eliminator.
Middleweight John Ryder takes a step up against experienced Australian Les Sherrington, while Team GB star Charlie Edwards makes his professional debut.
There is also a light-welterweight double-header on the card, with Ricky Boylan taking on Tommy Martin and Wayne Hibbert battles Tyler Goodjohn.