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Will Ospreay vacates IWGP World Heavyweight title due to neck injury


Will Ospreay has vacated the IWGP World heavyweight title as he is out of action with a neck injury.

NJPW released a statement Thursday morning and revealed that Ospreay suffered the injury during the second night of Wrestling Dontaku. They said he would not be participating in the next series of events and will return to the United Kingdom for rehabilitation. No timetable is set for his return and as a result, the IWGP World Heavyweight title is now vacant.

An announcement on what comes next for the IWGP World Heavyweight title will be made at a later date. Ospreay had held the IWGP World Heavyweight title for 46 days, defeating Kota Ibushi at Sakura Genesis on April 4th.

Ospreay defeated Shingo Takagi on the second night of Wrestling Dontaku on May 4th to retain the title. He was scheduled to defend against Kazuchika Okada at May 29th's Wrestle Grand Slam at the Tokyo Dome. However, that and the other stadium show set for Yokohama were delayed due to Japan extending their COVID-19 state of emergency through the end of May.

NJPW has not run any shows since May 4th due to nine wrestlers testing positive for COVID-19. They plan to resume shows on May 22nd.