"I still can't believe it," he said. "I'm so sad. I feel fit and ready to fight, it's so disappointing."
Barney Eastwood, his manager, said he would seek an independent examination but added: "I feel the British Boxing Board of Control will still be very reluctant to give him a licence."
Close was to have made his challenge at King's Hall in his home city of Belfast on 11 February. Steve Collins, the WBO middleweight champion from Dublin, and Close's former stablemate, has been named as his replacement.