David Price withdraws due to virus

Updated: December 9, 2013, 5:42 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

British heavyweight hopeful David Price came down with a virus and withdrew on Monday from his fight Saturday in Neubrandenburg, Germany, promoter Sauerland Event announced.

Price, looking to rebuild his career after back-to-back knockout losses to American contender Tony Thompson earlier in the year, was due to face Evgeny Orlov (14-12-1, 10 KOs), 35, of Russia, in a scheduled eight-round bout on the card headlined by Juergen Braehmer (41-2, 31 KOs) facing Marcus Oliveira (25-0-1, 20 KOs) for a vacant light heavyweight world title.

The fight was supposed to be the first for the 30-year-old Price (15-2, 13 KOs), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2012 ESPN.com prospect of the year, since his recent signing with Sauerland Event.

"Obviously, I am disappointed," Price said. "I was looking forward to my first fight back but I wouldn't be doing myself or my fans justice by taking the fight when I am anything less than 100 percent."

Said promoter Kalle Sauerland, "It is unfortunate but these things happen and one has to act responsibly. This is a minor setback and has no effect on our plans for Pricey. He will be back in the ring at the beginning of the New Year."

The card also will feature heavyweight Kubrat Pulev, one of world champion Wladimir Klitschko's mandatory challengers. Pulev is expected to face Klitschko in 2014. However, Klitschko has a different mandatory challenger that is expected to come ahead of a fight with Pulev, who will stay busy on Saturday.

Pulev and his handlers are taking no chances. Pulev (18-0, 9 KOs), 32, of Bulgaria, will face Minnesota club fighter Joey Abell (29-6, 28 KOs), 32, in a scheduled 12-round bout.

Abell replaced similarly huge underdog Sherman Williams, who had dropped out because of a right hand injury. Abell is probably best known for getting knocked out in the first round by contender Cristobal Arreola in 2011.

"It doesn't matter who I have to beat," Pulev said. "My goal is clear: a fight against Wladimir Klitschko to take all his belts from him."

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