by Johnny Walker
Rising Anglo-Irish heavyweight Tyson Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) has, over the past couple of years, made a name for himself as much for his social media outbursts as for what he has accomplished inside the squared circle. The 6’9″ giant has been known to shoot from the lip and worry about the consequences later, and this has often gotten him in hot water with various parties, most notably the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) and now, the World Boxing Council (WBC).
Fury has been–with some justification– feeling burned lately as a scheduled mega-bucks British heavyweight showdown with veteran David “Hayemaker” Haye has twice failed to come off, due to Haye’s late cancellations with various claims to injury.
The result has seen Fury’s forward momentum in the heavyweight division stopped, and he has lashed out as his ranking has fallen.
Fury recently became furious when the WBC ordered a rematch between Haitian-Canadian Bermane Stiverne and Mexican-American Cristobal Arreola when reigning WBC champion Vitali Klitschko went into semi-retirement to pursue politics in his homeland of Ukraine. Klitschko may still return at some point, but for now, he has “emeritus” status, and the WBC needs a current, active champion.
Stiverne (23-1, 20 KOs) already dominated Arreola and broke his nose in a win back in April of 2013. Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) then rebounded with a quick disposal of American prospect Seth Mitchell, destroying him in a first round KO last September.
The proposed Stiverne-Arreola rematch for the WBC heavyweight crown saw Fury tell UK boxing personality Steve Bunce that the organization was in essence, corrupt, and trying to freeze him out of the picture.
“Instead of letting me fight Stiverne for the vacant WBC title, they’ve only gone and put him against the man he’s already beaten in his last fight comfortably,” Fury told Bunce.
“So I don’t know what’s happening there, someone’s paying a lot of money to somebody. They’ve frozen me out there.”
This comment of course enraged the WBC, who then threatened retaliation against Fury in a prepared statement.
“The WBC has notified Mr. Fury that his defamatory and insulting statements violate the WBC Constitution’s prohibitions on using the communications media to defame other members of the boxing community and thereby damage the sport itself,” the statement read in part.
“Further, the WBC Rules & Regulations specifically subject boxers and their representatives to discipline for slurring, insulting, or bringing disrepute to the WBC or the sport of boxing.
“The WBC has advised Mr. Fury that absent a specific retraction and apology, the WBC will proceed with imposing disciplinary sanctions against him, including potential suspension, fine, and withdrawal from the WBC ratings.”
Apparently that warning made an impression on the fighter, who today decided that the wisest course of action was to back off from his previous stance and make peace with the WBC via a press release issued by Hennessy Sports.
“”I would like to apologise to the WBC for the comments I made and any implications that resulted from them,” Fury says.
“Through no fault of my own I have been unable to fight since April with fights in September and February being cancelled.
“The entire situation and inactivity has left me extremely frustrated.
“The WBC title has meant a lot to me since I was a kid and I always wanted to fight for that green WBC belt and put my name with the greats like Ali, Leonard, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis who have held it” [One might notice that the name of Vitali Klitschko is conspicuously absent here].
“That passion to hold that belt and the frustration of being forced to be inactive for so long sometimes leads me to say things that I shouldn’t and I would like to take this opportunity to retract those comments I made,” Fury continues.
“I do not believe that the WBC or any of its members acted improperly in the heavyweight division, but having fought a WBC eliminator (which I know and understand was not a final eliminator), and with the title being vacated, I genuinely believe I am the best heavyweight and deserving of a shot.”
Fury will have to hope his statement soothes the hurt feelings over at the World Boxing Council as he prepares for his next fight, scheduled for the Copper Box Arena in London on February 15 against an opponent not yet determined.