Nigel Benn is set to abandon his dream of returning to boxing at the age of 55 after his prospective comeback bout was cancelled due to injury.
Benn announced on Monday night that his controversial meeting with Sakio Bika, scheduled for the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham next month, was off after he sustained a shoulder injury in training.
And Benn now appears resigned to the fact that his return, which was to have been sanctioned by the little-known British and Irish Boxing Authority, will not now happen at all.
In a statement, a spokesman for Benn confirmed that the fight’s cancellation “will likely mean that he will never get the closure he sought”.
Benn had shrugged off criticism of his comeback by pointing to a battery of tests which appeared to indicate he was in exceptional physical shape.
However, the British Boxing Board of Control responded to an initial enquiry from the Benn camp by stating it had no intention of granting the former world middleweight and super-middleweight champion a licence.
Benn said: “I hope my fans will respect that I have no say in this decision.
“Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this may cause to my loyal fans who have bought tickets, the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) for sanctioning me, undercard fighters, the venue, suppliers and anyone else who is affected by my announcement. God bless you all.”