New York (April 1, 2009) – A broken left leg sustained during a sparring session earlier today (Wednesday) has forced Strikeforce World Lightweight (155-pound limit) Champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2) to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (14-2) at Strikeforce’s “Shamrock vs. Diaz” event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, April 11.
Strikeforce is searching for a replacement fighter to face the top-ranked Melendez in the live SHOWTIME televised event.
“I was sparring hard and I broke my leg, above my ankle, during an exchange,” said the 30-year-old Thomson, who was trading blows with fellow Strikeforce competitor Billy Evangelista when the injury occurred. Thomson is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday and is expected to be out of action for two to three months.
“I’m very upset. All the hard work was done and it was time to fight,” said the injured champ. “I was looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans. All I can say is that I’ll be back when I get healthy.”
Strikeforce “Shamrock vs. Diaz” will air live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) on Saturday, April 11.