David Haye was left "devasted" yesterday after being forced to withdraw from his heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury next Saturday due to a deep cut sustained in training. Haye was injured during his final sparring session with the Croatian Filip Hrgovic as he prepared at his training camp for the sell-out bout, which was due to take place at Manchester's MEN Arena.
A statement from his promoter, Hayemaker Boxing, said: "The cut above his left eyebrow occurred in round two of sparring on Friday night and required six stitches by a plastic surgeon at St Thomas' hospital. Because of the gravity of the cut, these stitches will now remain in place for five to seven days.
"Gutted isn't even the word," Haye said. "Mentally, I'm on the floor at the moment. I'm devastated most of all for my loyal fans, my family and my team, as well as Tyson Fury and his team.
"I know injuries and cuts are part and parcel of our sport, but this doesn't change the feeling of disappointment and sadness I'm experiencing right now. To everyone who has bought tickets, booked hotels, and followed this fight since it was announced, there is absolutely nothing I can do except apologise from the very bottom of my heart.
"Even when everything seems to be right on track, sometimes life throws you a curveball. I will somehow have to try and make the best of this horrible situation. But, right now, I'm in bits about what has happened."
Haye and Fury were both hoping that victory would set up a fight with Wladimir Klitschko, who is due to defend his world title against Alexander Povetkin in Moscow on 5 October.
The pair may now find themselves pushed down the queue, with the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, who beat Tony Thompson in August, first in line for a crack at the champion. Haye had been hoping to re-establish his world-class credentials after his disappointing points defeat by Klitschko in July 2011. Victory for Fury would have lifted him further into contention on the back of a career-best seventh-round stoppage of the American veteran Steve Cunningham in April.
It is unclear whether Fury's camp will consider rescheduling the bout with Haye.