Puerto Rican lightweight sensation Felix Verdejo, who has been dealing with discomfort in his surgically repaired left hand for the past several days, withdrew on Thursday from his Oct. 31 fight.
Verdejo, the 2014 ESPN.com prospect of the year, was scheduled to headline a "Solo Boxeo Tecate" card on UniMas against Brazil's Josenilson Dos Santos (27-3, 17 KOs) in a 10-round fight at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida, an Orlando suburb where Verdejo has a large Puerto Rican fan base.
"I'm very sad about all this," said Verdejo, a 2012 Olympian. "I wanted to give back all the love the fans in Kissimmee have given me with a good fight, but they deserve the best of me, and in order to give my best inside the ring, I need to be 100 percent ready."
Verdejo (18-0, 13 KOs), 22, had surgery to remove bone spurs in his left hand in June.
He scored a pair of knockdowns and won a one-sided 10-round decision against then-undefeated Ivan Najera in his HBO debut on June 13 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. But Verdejo came into the fight having problems with his left hand, and two weeks later he traveled to Los Angeles to have noted hand specialist Dr. Steven Shin perform surgery to remove bone spurs from the hand.
Verdejo went through a rigorous rehabilitation program and was pain-free when he was cleared to resume training a few weeks ago. Then his hand began to bother him a few days ago.
"We understand Felix's frustration and disappointment not being able to go through with this fight," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. "Unfortunately, the hand has just not recovered enough to fight as originally planned. Felix will continue his rehab and we will reschedule his next fight as soon as possible.
"He's got to continue the rehab he's been doing, and in another week, we'll make assessment on when he will go."
Moretti said the Oct. 31 card will still go on and that Top Rank will put together a new main event.