PROMOTER Mark Neilson hopes Luke Watkins will be fighting for a title at his next show this winter after confirming the cruiserweight will miss tonight’s Fight Town 2 event at the Oasis Leisure Centre.

Swindon-born Watkins had been due to return to the ring for the first time since April this evening – only for the bout to be pulled at the 11th hour.

Former Commonwealth champion Watkins commands a faithful following in his hometown, so Neilson hopes to give both him and his fans a contest to savour at Fight Town 3, which is scheduled for November 30.

“Luke is a top-10 UK-ranked fighter, so it is disappointing not to have him on the card this weekend,” said Neilson.

“A fighter of that calibre is a big draw and he has big following – and he is never in a dull fight.

“It is a serious disappointment but his opponent has pulled out. We don’t know the full reasons why but is a tough proposition for anyone to fight Luke Watkins.

“We are looking at Luke as a main event title fight for our show on November 30.

“We are already in discussions for that and this weekend’s fight would have been a six-rounder to get him ready for that.

“Hopefully that will go ahead as the main event for a title.”

Although disappointed not to have Watkins feature on tonight’s card, Neilson has promised Swindon ticker holders a spectacular evening’s entertainment nonetheless.

A host of Watkins’ stablemates from Fitzpatrick’s Gym in the town – including headliner Ryan Martin, Sam Smith and Bec Connolly – will offer plenty for Swindon fight fans to throw their support behind.

Neilson said: “Fortunately, we had such a stacked card anyway that the rest of the card still stands up.

“If we had a four-fight card and Luke was the main event, we would be in trouble, but with an 11-fight card, it doesn’t affect the show too negatively.

“We have Ryan as the main event and Sam getting ready for his Southern Area title fight, so there are still loads of local fighters for the fans to get behind.”