Former super bantamweight world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux’s fight against Britain’s James “Jazza” Dickens, on Saturday at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, is off due to the Cuban having issues obtaining a UK visa.
The fight was scheduled to take place on the undercard of WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan’s defence against Derry Mathews, promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.
Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was training in Grozny, Russia with coach Pedro Diaz, who was preparing Ruslan Chagaev for his WBA heavyweight title fight with Lucas Browne last Saturday. He traveled to the UK Visa Application Centre in Moscow to apply for his visa, which was being processed but not finalized.
Warren said that Rigondeaux’s paperwork was in order and his visa would have been granted by Wednesday. But for unexplained reasons, Rigondeaux left and flew back to his home in Miami.
“Accordingly, QP issued the necessary supporting documentation for his application and accordingly, the visa was correctly applied for by Team Rigondeaux,” said Warren. “We were told that it could take five clear working days for the visa to be issued so Rigondeaux could travel, but the problem was, or so we were told, that due to a public holiday in Russia (on Tuesday) the application center would be closed and he may not be able to collect his visa until Wednesday.
“We have yet to establish how and why he flew to the USA and further, how he managed to fly anywhere when the normal practice is, when applying for a visa, that you hand your passport in and get it back when the visa is issued.
“We are all extremely disappointed by the whole situation as Rigondeaux will not appear this Saturday and Dickens will not get the chance, that he has trained so hard for, to fight the world’s best super bantamweight in front of his own fans.”
Rigondeaux, a 35-year-old southpaw, was stripped of his WBA and WBO world titles late last year due to inactivity. He was looking to come to England and beat British champion Dickens to set up a possible fight with IBF and WBA champion Carl Frampton, who outpointed Scott Quigg to unify the belts last month.