Rahman's fight against Navarre disallowed

NYSAC says bout wouldn't be competitive

Ahunanya is new foe for Wednesday


July 23, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Baltimore native Hasim Rahman won't be allowed to fight journeyman heavyweight Quinn Navarre on Wednesday at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y., the New York State Athletic Commission announced yesterday.

"The New York State Athletic Commission evaluates each proposed bout. Based upon each boxer's history, the commission decided the bout would be one-sided and non-competitive," said Tim Donovan, spokesman for the NYSAC, reading from a statement.

"Therefore, the bout would be potentially unsafe to approve, and it would also deny the public its right to a fair and competitive match," Donovan continued. "The New York State Athletic Commission will not approve nor condone out and out mismatches such as this to go forward."

Navarre, 36, is the second opponent to come and go for Rahman's next bout. Englishman Wayne Llewelyn, 34, came down with a viral infection and pulled out of the fight.

Rahman said last night that his co-manager, Steve Nelson, called him with yet another replacement opponent: Friday "The 13th" Ahunanya (20-2-1) of Nigeria.

Ahunanya, 32, is a former North American Boxing Association champion who suffered a fifth-round knockout in his previous bout against Lance Whitaker on April 17.

"I think he's a decent opponent, he's got a good record and he's a durable guy, but Friday's going to catch it on Wednesday," said Rahman, 31, the ex-heavyweight champion. "I've never seen him fight, but it doesn't matter because I'm on a mission right now."

Rahman (38-5-1) said he understood the NYSAC's decision on Navarre (30-12-1).

"They know it's too much of a mismatch," said Rahman. "It's frustrating, but they're just doing their job, and I understand that it's for the safety of the fighter.

"They're afraid of the worst-case scenario, and they want to make sure that the fighters walk out safe and secure."

Navarre weighed nearly 273 pounds for his previous fight. He was knocked out in the second and third rounds, respectively, in his past two bouts against Timo Hoffman and Audley Harrison.

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