Robert Berridge has missed out on a world title shot and will instead sidestep the mandatory Kiwi challenger to take on Brazilian Rogerio Damasco next month.
Backed by Duco Events, New Zealand's highest ranked boxer was aggressively pursing a WBO light-heavyweight title fight with Russian Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City on August 2.
However, it seems the only man to defeat Berridge, long-term Australian rival Blake Caparello (19-0), has been preferred by Kovalev's camp.
Berridge is now scheduled to meet 31-year-old Damasco (12-1) for the WBO Oriental and PABA titles, on the undercard of the Joseph Parker and Brian Minto card on July 5 in Manukau.
That is sure to cause ructions on the Kiwi boxing scene, as Berridge is overlooking Adrian Taihia, the mandatory challenger as interim PABA champion.
Berridge and Taihia were set to square off on Va'aiga Tuigamala's card, only for the former to pull out with injury and the hope of a title shot. Taihia then beat Samoan champion Togasilimai Letoa to further enhance his claims for a grudge match with Berridge.
Duco have, meanwhile, further expanded their stable by signing 26-year-old Australian prospect Jeff Horn (7-0).
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