By Matt Cassavant / Fightnews Canada
The injury bug that plagued several Groupe Yvon Michel fighters and events in 2012 seems to have carried over into the New Year. The latest casualty is the February 8th Fast & Furious main event as John O’Donnell (27-2, 11KOs) has pulled out of his welterweight clash vs. Kevin Bizier (19-0, 13KOs) due to a significant hand injury.
This is the second time that the GYM and ESPN Friday Night Fights main event has fallen apart due to injury. Initially, Canadian middleweight knockout sensation David Lemieux was expected to headline the card against Colombian Jose Miguel Torres, but that fell apart due to Lemieux suffering a hand injury of his own. GYM has apparently found a replacement for O’Donnell and has submitted that potential candidate for review to ESPN who is expected to make its ruling on whether or not the replacement candidate is suitable for their broadcast standards within the next 24 hours.
Things not going according to plan is nothing new for Bizier, who is coming off a 2012 year that he believes was the most frustrating of his professional career. The rugged undefeated Quebec contender ended 2011 by winning a minor title in his fist 12 round bout by impressively defeating battle tested Lanardo Tyner and appeared to have momentum on his side going into 2012. However, 2012 proved to be challenging as Bizier was on the shelf for the first 9 months, a hiatus caused by various reasons mostly resulting from numerous GYM schedule changes (most notably the Pascal-Cloud cancellation). In a downtown Montreal press conference last week, Bizier who was just 48 hours removed from becoming a first time father, seemed rejuvenated while talking to reporters about the prospect of fighting on ESPN and was looking forward to what he expected to be his most difficult technical fight versus the southpaw O’Donnell. Bizier will now have to adapt in the face of extenuating circumstances once again and most probably alter his game plan as he awaits a new opponent with less than 2 weeks away from fight night.
Some have speculated that veteran Joachim Alcine (33-3-1, 19KOs) scheduled to fight on the undercard portion of the February 8th GYM gala in a 8 round bout vs David Toribio (19-14, 12KOs) could potentially step in and replace O’Donnell in the ESPN main event. The prospect of Alcine fighting Bizier later this year is a possibility, but unlikely to happen on two weeks notice. GYM still has Alcine under contract for two more fights and a local showdown against Bizier would certainly make sense, especially in Quebec City, but two weeks would not give Alcine enough time to drop the necessary weight as Bizier wants to stay at 147lbs in order to climb the world rankings. There also seems to be little interest from ESPN in Alcine.
Hold on Superman’s flight pattern
In what has turned into a reoccurring theme, Adonis Stevenson is expected to find out by the end of the day whether or not he will be fighting for the vacant IBF title next time he enters the ring. As the IBF needs to receive the contracts from the Kessler-Froch rematch today in order to sanction and grant Carl Froch’s desired extension. According to Yvon Michel, Adonis could be fighting a stay busy fight in March if Froch is allowed to keep his title…