BUFFALO, N.Y. — Light welterweight boxer Nick Casal's long-awaited return to the ring Thursday night was put on hold after Shakha Moore failed his pre-fight physical because of an eye condition.
They were supposed to square off at the Niagara Falls Conference and Events Center in Casal's first fight since October 2011. Casal (22-4-1) has been off since sustaining several deep gashes to the head, after being nearly clubbed to death by a crowbar-wielding attacker in May 2012 near his home in Niagara Falls.
"It's unfortunate," promoter Mercedes Vazquez Simmons said regarding the New York Athletic Commission's decision to not license Moore to fight. "We both wanted this to happen, but unforeseen circumstances caused this to occur."
Ray Casal, the fighter's father and trainer, said he learned Tuesday that Moore (11-19-3) failed his physical because of last year's Lasik eye surgery, which raised a concern with the commission.
Vazquez Simmons is already working with the commission to line up another card featuring Casal for the first week in May. She also intends to have several boxers lined up as backups to fight Casal in the event the desired opponent has to back out.
Ray Casal tried to reach a deal to have his son fight Marlon Lewis, who was also on the card. However, Lewis was also denied a license to fight by the commission after a test revealed he had bleeding on the brain.
Though disappointed, Ray Casal supported the commission's decisions. He noted those on the commission are more wary of licensing boxers in New York since heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov nearly died from a stroke after losing the fight against Mike Perez at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2.
Casal's 28-year-old son was required to pass a barrage of tests last year to be cleared to resume his career. He was injured during an altercation with his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, Michael Vicki.
Casal was struck at least 15 times across the head and body.
Doctors required more than 200 stitches to close several gashes, including one on the back of his head and another on his right temple. His tooth was chipped and his arm severely swollen, but not broken.
Remarkably, tests revealed Casal's skull was not fractured.
Vicki pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree assault last April, and was sentenced to five years in prison.