September 29, 2016
September 29, 2016
Tyson Fury

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

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IT’S not over for Tyson Fury. But the heavyweight champion will remain in exile for some time. Fury has had a troubled reign since he dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf last November. The IBF belt, one of the three world titles he won, was stripped from him because his contracted rematch with Klitschko meant he could not meet the mandatory challenger for that belt. The Klitschko fight was then postponed after Tyson injured his ankle. He still needs to have a hearing with UKAD to answer allegations of a doping violation. Fury didn’t appear for a press conference to announce the rescheduled October 29 fight, due to a broken down car. Last week because of a medical condition he pulled out of the fight.

It is a complex, confusing situation. The details of Tyson’s medical issues have not been confirmed and that deserves sympathy and understanding. He cannot take part in a sport as serious and potentially risky as boxing if he is not completely well. But it leaves fans frustrated, especially if they spent money on tickets and travel, missing out on a fight they wanted to see.

What will happen to Tyson’s titles is also interesting. Rival promoters will want them freed up so their fighters can challenge for them. The sanctioning bodies could strip him for inactivity, they could make him champion in recess and give him the right to fight for the belts once he’s ready to return or indeed they could maintain his status as champion, Fury after all has never lost in the ring.

Frank Warren, the promoter who would have televised Fury-Klitschko II on BoxNation, expects the heavyweight champion to make a full recovery. In his column he wrote, “I certainly believe he possesses the strength of character and resolve to do just that. He also has the support of a strong and loving family.

“I feel sorry for him, for our BoxNation subscribers and for the fans. It is a great disappointment all round.”

“But sport, I am afraid, must come second at times like this and boxing will rightly take a back seat until he is fit and ready to reclaim his place at the top of the heavyweight pecking order,” Frank added. “I am no expert and I’m not able to place any timeframe on how long the recovery process will take and what happens to his world champion status in the meantime remains to be seen.”

Fury, he insisted, will be back. Warren said, “Through no fault of his own, the pause button has been pressed on the career of Tyson Fury and I, for one, believe that is what it is – just a pause.”