Boxing: Veteran Smith fails his medical

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The Independent Online
THE American veteran James 'Bonecrusher' Smith has been ruled out of Tuesday night's fight with Henry Akinwande, the British heavyweight, on medical grounds.

The Boxing Board of Control has heeded the advice of its medical panel over the former World Boxing Association champion, who tomorrow celebrates his 41st birthday in North Carolina rather than preparing in London for his York Hall date at Bethnal Green.

Mickey Duff, the promoter who had laid out air fares and hotel expenses for Smith and his trainer, will be sounding out several possible opponents for Akinwande, the unbeaten European champion, over Easter.

John Morris, the BBBC secretary, said: 'The Board has ruled that Smith cannot be licensed in this country after detailed consideration of medical reports from tests carried out on Smith over the past few days. With great regret, the Board cannot permit the contest between Smith and Akinwande to go ahead.'

There had been criticism of Smith as an opponent for Akinwande, largely on the grounds of age and that he had been knocked out in three rounds in his last fight by Lionel Butler.

Smith said: 'It's all a bit of a shock, I still don't understand what the problem is and why I can't get a licence because I've had no specific details. I've had no problem in the past and this is all a bit of a mystery. I feel mentally and physically fine. I've had tests here I've never taken before, they were not usual tests. On Tuesday I was told everything was OK.'