Fury set to lose one belt, boxing licence at risk

Tyson Fury celebrates after the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO title bout against Ukrainian world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko in Duesseldorf, western Germany.
Tyson Fury celebrates after the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO title bout against Ukrainian world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko in Duesseldorf, western Germany. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Tyson Fury is likely to lose one of his two remaining world heavyweight titles before the end of the month, after the president of the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) confirmed that it will discuss the troubled fighter's status as its champion at a meeting on Oct 17.

WBO officials will gather for their annual convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Paco Valcarcel told The Guardian that a decision relating to Fury will be finalised at the four-day meeting.

Fury faces being stripped of his WBO belt, which he secured alongside the IBF and WBA versions by beating Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf last November, given the discussions will focus on his absence from the ring since his shock victory 11 months ago and allegations that he tested positive for cocaine last month. He hardly helped his cause by claiming in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine published this week that he had taken "lots of" the class A drug in order to deal with a bipolar disorder.

"We will be writing to Tyson Fury before the convention asking him to explain his inactivity as well as his comments regarding drug taking," Valcarcel said.

"It is possible he has gone against WBO rules and guidelines in a way that would not allow him to continue as champion."

The news comes as the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) confirmed it will decide next week whether or not to withdraw Fury's licence, partly in light of his remarks to Rolling Stone, in which he reiterated his belief that he was the victim of a "witch-hunt" and claimed "personal demons" had driven him to "the brink of death".

"We have a meeting on Oct 12. All of Mr Fury's recent issues will be discussed at that point, after which we'll see what we're going to do," said the BBBC general secretary, Robert Smith.

Speaking in regard to the alleged failed drug test, he added: "Cocaine is against the law of the land. We can't ignore the law of the land. It's drug use and we will deal with it accordingly."

The WBA is also considering whether or not to strip Fury of its version of the heavyweight title but when contacted by The Guardian, could not confirm when that decision will be made.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Fury set to lose one belt, boxing licence at risk'. Print Edition | Subscribe