Banks sprains ankle, drops out of Maccarinelli bout; fight could be early in '09

Updated: December 1, 2008, 8:35 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Johnathon Banks of Detroit suffered a severely sprained ankle in training, forcing him to withdraw Monday from his cruiserweight world title bout against Wales' Enzo Maccarinelli.

Banks, trained and managed by Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward, was supposed to face Maccarinelli (28-2, 21 KOs) on Saturday night in London for one of the belts vacated by David Haye when he made the move to heavyweight earlier this month.

Maccarinelli, who held the belt until being knocked out by Haye in the second round of their March 8 unification bout, is still scheduled to fight against an opponent to be named, according to Maccarinelli promoter Frank Warren's Web site.

Banks (20-0, 14 KOs) was training in Spain in camp with heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko, who is also trained by Steward and preparing for a Dec. 13 bout in Germany against former champion Hasim Rahman, when he injured his ankle.

"I thought he couldn't have a better sparring partner than the heavyweight champion. He wound up spraining the ankle last week with what the doctor diagnosed as a severe sprain," Tom Loeffler of Banks promoter K2 told ESPN.com in an email. "They were doing a lot of therapy on it to try to keep him in the fight, but it just didn't respond to any of the therapy in order for him to be able continue his preparation."

Loeffler said the doctor told Banks he would be unable to train for about three weeks. Loeffler said they hope to reschedule the fight for early next year.

The card had already seen its original main event called off when junior lightweight titlist Nicky Cook came down with the flu, forcing the postponement of his first defense against Stephen Foster Jr. When that happened, Maccarinelli-Banks was elevated to main event status.

Also on the card, lightweight Amir Khan aims to rebound from his first loss when he faces Oisin Fagan and heavyweight Audley Harrison faces Martin Rogan.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.