Tyson Fury Leaves Heavyweight Belts Amid Mental Illness Treatment

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Tyson Fury, treated for depression and tested positive for cocaine in two random drug tests last month, took off his WBO and WBA heavyweight world championship belts on Wednesday night.

Fury, who admitted to consuming heavy cocaine and alcohol in recent months, said he left the belts to focus on his treatment.

“I think it is only fair and just and for the sake of boxing to keep the titles active and allow other contenders to fight for the vacant belts that I have proudly won and held as a champion. of the undefeated heavyweight world when I beat longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko, ”Fury said in a statement.

“I won the titles in the ring and I think they should be lost in the ring, but I am not in a position to defend at the moment and I have made the difficult and emotional decision to now officially leave my precious world titles and wishing the best candidates as I now embark on another big challenge in my life that I know, like against Klitschko, I will win. “

Even if Fury had not released the belts, he likely would have been stripped by sanctioning bodies due to positive drug tests and inactivity. Also, his boxing license was suspended Thursday by the British Boxing Board of Control after a hearing.

“Tyson will always be the linear heavyweight world champion for all to see. He beat the most dominant champion of modern boxing on an incredible night in Germany to earn this honor, and that won’t change. ever, ”said promoter Mick Hennessy, who has promoted Fury his entire career. “While it is heartbreaking to see Tyson abandon the world titles he has worked so long and hard for all his life, what is paramount now is that he receives the medical treatment with the love of his. family and friends and the support of the boxing world to make a full recovery. “

Fury (25-0, 18 KOs), 28, of England, marked a huge upheaval on November 28 in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he edged out long-time world champion Klitschko to win the belts and claim the lineage of the division. But he was unable to handle the pressures that accompanied the sudden and intense spotlight. He withdrew from a July 9 rematch, scheduled to take place at Manchester Arena in his hometown of Manchester, England, due to an ankle injury.

He later said that the real reason for his withdrawal was because he had become so depressed that he stopped training, started using drugs, and continued to drink heavily.

The fight was postponed to October 29, also at Manchester Arena, but it was called off on September 23 because Fury had mental health issues and continued to drink and take drugs. Then, on September 29, the first positive drug test arrived from a sample collected by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on September 22. A sample collected by VADA on September 21 also tested positive on October 12.

“Tyson will be back stronger, and I will make sure that no matter what we have to deal with, Tyson will not only come back, but get back what is rightfully his,” said Peter Fury, Tyson’s uncle and coach. . “I am very proud of my nephew’s accomplishments.”

With the belts vacant, sanctioning bodies must indicate how they will be filled and the best heavyweights fight for position.

Klitschko, inactive for almost a year while awaiting the rematch with Fury, hopes to fight for the belts, and his team are in negotiations with Englishman Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs), who holds the IBF title. . This belt was taken from Fury 10 days after defeating Klitschko because he was forced to face Klitschko in an immediate and unavailable rematch to fight the obligatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov.

Glazkov instead faced Charles Martin for the vacant title and was eliminated in the third round in January. Martin was then pummeled by Joshua in two rounds on April 9.

While Klitschko could challenge Joshua for his belt on December 10 in England, their camps hope to convince the WBO and WBA to allow the vacant titles to be on the line as well. But other heavyweights will dispute that.

The WBA has yet to render a decision, and the WBO plans to address the situation at its annual convention, which begins Monday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

However, WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel told ESPN on Wednesday night that the organization had set up a four-way box-off for the vacant title involving the four main available contenders. If that’s what the WBO decides to do and all four heavyweights in its rankings agree to participate, that would mean fights involving No.1 Joseph Parker (21-0, 18 KOs) of New Zealand, no. # 2 Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) from Ukraine, # 3 Andy Ruiz Jr. (29-0, 19 KOs) from Mexico and # 4 David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs), a former holder of the English title which has already suffered a defeat to Klitschko in a fight for the unification of the title in 2011.


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