It has been confirmed this afternoon that Newtownabbey light heavyweight Steven Ward [9(3)-0] has been forced off the bill at the Manchester Arena this Saturday night.
The BUI Celtic champion has not recovered from injuries suffered in his disqualification victory over Mexican Rolando Paredas in Belfast back at the start of October.
Ward shipped plenty of headbutts in the fight at the Titanic Exhibition Centre and revealed that he actually suffered a fractured orbital bone as a result.
This break has not healed in time for his fight at the weekend and decision has been made to pull ‘The Quiet Man’ from the big BT Sport Box Office card.
Ward had been in training in the VIP Gym with Frampton in Manchester and said that “I am gutted, and it is frustrating after basically going through a full camp.”
“Initially my consultant said I should be okay for December 22nd, but the injury hasn’t healed so I have to wait. I think they want to err on the side of caution.”
“People don’t realise the sacrifices you make, being away from your family. And also the fact you don’t get paid if you don’t fight. Thankfully I have a lot of great sponsors who help me out.”
“But just to be missing such a massive card like this Saturday is bitterly disappointing.”
The Commonwealth Games silver medallist doesn’t intend to dwell on the disappointment and hopes to return early in 2019.
“Hopefully I am back sometime in February,” said Ward.
“I have been ticking over. I have been doing some light work every day down at Monkstown and just keeping myself fit and ready to go again.
“The training camp I have done sets me up for 2019, I won’t be starting from scratch again.
“I want to get back out as soon as possible. Hopefully I can get on a bill early on the New Year.”
In terms of Irish undercard support to Frampton’s challenge of IBF champ Warrington, two fighters remain.
Falls Road feather Mick Conlan faces his first British opponent in Jason Cunningham while Cliftonville flyweight Paddy Barnes returns from his world title loss to Cristofer Rosales back in August with a six rounder.