WHO is the lineal heavyweight champion? That is the man who beat the man, who beat the man, and so forth?
It was deemed to be Tyson Fury. In 2015, he defeated the world’s leading heavyweight, Wladimir Klitschko in Germany. His reign would end without Fury defending the titles he won. After a failed drug test he reached a settlement with UKAD although it would be more than two years before he returned to the sport after he’d beaten Klitschko.
Lennox Lewis, the last undisputed champion, knows a thing or two about heavyweight boxing. He does consider Wladimir Klitschko, if not necessarily a successor, certainly one of the greats in the sport. “You have to look at people’s accomplishments and he definitely accomplished a lot in his life, an extensive amateur career, an extensive pro career, accomplished a lot. I would have to say he’s one of the greats. He’s proven it and his history proves it,” Lewis said.
It was Fury who snapped Klitschko’s winning streak back in 2015. Does Lewis therefore consider Fury the lineal heavyweight champion?
He has no objection. “You have to look at the past. The past is what he’s done. He’s beaten Wladimir and he’s done it in a good way. He did it in a great way when you look at the fight. He did it in a great way, he looked good doing it,” Lennox said.
“The fact that he’s had a couple of years off now, does he still have it? I think he still has it. We’re still talking about what he did to Wladimir and what he could possibly do to [Deontay] Wilder, what he could possibly do to Anthony Joshua. This is what the public wants to see. They want to see good fights and those are the good fights that are out there.”
A lot has happened since 2015 afterall. Anthony Joshua is undoubtedly the leading heavyweight in the world today. He has already unified three of the four major heavyweight titles and since he too beat Klitschko last year, he has consistently been filling stadia across the UK.
The only world title outside of his possession is Deontay Wilder’s WBC title. Talks for Joshua to fight Wilder fell through but there is a chance that the American could fight Fury this year. The winner of that contest, if it takes place, would no doubt consider themselves ‘lineal champion’ and that perception could make future negotiations with Joshua and his team all the more interesting…