Tuesday, March 20, 2018  |


RING editor discusses why Tyson Fury was stripped of heavyweight title


The powers that be at THE RING mag have been patient with Tyson Fury, oh so patient, and resisted the call from sideliners to vacate THE RING title he held and yank him from the ratings at heavyweight.

Patience finally fully waned, though, and the RING brigade removed the big lad from the championship slot in the heavyweight top ten. Word dropped on Thursday that the move had been made, and Fury would have to fight his way back onto the list.

He’d been quite active out of the ring for the last couple years, retiring, and un-retiring, and lobbing spitballs on Twitter at fellow pugilists, and oversight personnel who, he believed, had been holding him back from plying his trade. But as for doing the thing that he’d mastered to the point that he’d beaten Wladimir Klitschko, and thus became the man who beat the man who beat the man…well, Fury been AWOL.

The 29 year old has been training for a spell now, it looks like, and is whittling his massive frame down from overly generous, he hopes, to merely massive again. The British Boxing Board of Control has decided he’s fit to fight, and word is we could see the Traveller rumbling again in April. He doesn’t have a fight date or foe locked in, but promoter Frank Warren seems confident the XXL talent will be back on the horse soon enough. His last in ring outing was in November 2015 though, so RING mag EIC Doug Fischer and company felt compelled to make a move to strip.

I reached out to Fischer, a California resident, to get a sense of what the thought processing was on why Fury got stripped:

“The Fury situation was one that I wanted to address as soon as I became editor of THE RING magazine. Although I consider myself a Tyson Fury fan, I personally believed that he should have been stripped of the title last year when his boxing license situation and his case with UKAD were in limbo. I think the previous editor (Michael Rosenthal) had a soft spot for the big guy, which I totally understand, and he was in contact with Fury’s former promoter Mick Hennessy, who was good and putting off any decision on our side by constantly promising that a resolution to Fury’s legal woes were coming to a conclusion. There were also some members of the British sports media that led Rosenthal to believe that Fury was the victim of foul play or some kind of conspiracy by the UK boxing establishment, and I believe this added to his leniency toward the big lug,” Fischer explained.

“However, by the time I got the editor gig in late October, Fury was back in training and had signed a deal with ‘Mack The Knife’ management company (MTK Global), a serious outfit and player on the UK scene, so rather than push to have Fury stripped immediately, I had Associate Editor (and UK correspondent) Tom Gray contact MTK and give his team a hard deadline to get his license back and formally announce a scheduled comeback fight. That deadline was January 31. They had three months to get something done and they weren’t able to do it.

“I don’t think it was fair for Team Fury to keep what was once the biggest prize in sports (and still holds a lot of prestige in the UK) prisoner, while there were heavyweights and heavyweight fights that were/are potentially worthy of fighting for it (such as the Joshua-Klitschko and Joshua-Parker title bouts).

“The Ratings Panel doesn’t believe Joshua-Parker should be for the vacant title, but it should at least be in the conversation when you have two undefeated titleholders meeting in the ring. The Panel and the public should at least be able to discuss whether THE RING title should be on the line, and that wouldn’t happen if Fury had remained RING champ. He was basically holding the title hostage. He had a huge bargaining chip that he didn’t deserve to hold. Fury had earned it in the ring in November 2015, but he lost the right to keep it by not defending it.

The RING Ratings Panel discussed this recently and you can read about it in this week’s Ring Ratings Update.

Good transparency from EIC, there…

So, how did Fury take the news. Well, it looks like, OK, if you can judge by this Twitter post:

Or maybe he’s royally irked…Seems like he’s taken it with two grains of salt, and isn’t off on an angry tangent. Because, let’s face it, he’s not one to be subtle, typically, if he wants to rip someone a new hole.

Your thoughts, friends? Did we make the right call…or should Fury have been given the benefit of more time? Talk to us, in comments section.


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  • Dave LaRose

    It looks to me that The Ring handled this one just right. I’m one American that would love to see Fury get back all the way to bring that big mouth and humor back into the Heavyweight scene.

  • Guy Grundy

    It was the correct decision.

    He’d been given ample time by The Ring to get his fighting career back on track,even allowing for the fact that much was beyond his control.

    Let’s hope this comeback is for real.Boxing and the heavyweight scene in particular needs an elite talent like Fury to be in the mix and trying to regain that Ring title.

  • ceylon mooney

    better late than never


    Tyson sad. 🙁

  • Stephen M

    I say lineal shminial. It’s all pretty arbitrary. Seems a bit biblical: ” Aaron begat Shimon who begat Tyson…”.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      It;s not arbitrary if the title is being defended fairly regularly. But when the champion self destructs and is inactive for 27 months and counting, the line is broken anyway because who’s to know that champion is still the same fighter.

      Same thing with a champion who has one fight in 2 years and surgery on both knees, like Sergio Martinez. The Sergio Martinez we knew as Ring & Lineal Middleweight champion effectively ceased to exist following the Chavez Jr, the fact he technically still owned the titles doesn’t change the fact he was no longer the same fighter.

      • Conrad

        If someone retires the lineage is broken anyway though. Eventually it will always be broken

      • Stephen M

        Also, just looking at a list of lineal champions at Wikipedia you get this at Lt Heavy: Virgil Hill (1996–1997)Dariusz Michalczewski (1997–2003)Julio Cesar Gonzalez (2003–2004) Zsolt Erdei (2004–2009; vacated) Jean Pascal. Huh? No Roy Jones?
        At Welterweight you have this distinguished group: Ricardo Mayorga (2003) Cory Spinks (2003–2005)Zab Judah (2005–2006).
        Another example of why I don’t like lineal is that there hasn’t been a champ at bantamweight since 1987. Really?

        • Ten Count Toronto

          But you’re mixing up separate concepts. The lineal champion doesn’t have to be in anyones opinion the divisions best fighter – that’s completely subjective – the lineal champion is just the guy who beat the previous champion (officially).

          As long as the title is being passed down, there is continuity and a title holder. Of course it’s up to you or me to determine fro ourselves what that title is worth at any given time.

          • Stephen M

            Yeah, I guess lineal leaves me cold.

          • Ten Count Toronto

            It only means something if the lineal champion is actually an elite fighter or at least took the title from an elite fighter who was still in a useful state when the torch was passed.

          • Stephen M

            Exactly. It only means something if it means something.

  • Turner Wednesday

    The man who beat the man who beat the man who then got stripped.

    So now the lineage is split, what happens? The Ring belt is no longer the lineal HW champ anymore?

    • Ten Count Toronto

      In reality there hasn’t been a lineal champion since Lewis retired and there was never an adequate consolidation (not could there be seeing as the two top guys were brothers…).

      From the perspective of continuity, the Ring stripping Fury is almost redundant since the continuity was really broken by Fury’s +2 year absence which included a mental breakdown and almost 100lb weight gain. Therefore it’s highly questionable weather beating the Fury of 2018 is comparable to beating the Fury of November 2015.

      With Klitschko retired, there is no opponent out there with whom Fury can prove he is the same level as he was in 2015 (other than beating Joshua, or the Joshua-Wilder winner)

      • Turner Wednesday

        Thanks for the educated reply. I appreciate the explanation. Peace.

  • Homer

    I think this was the right move, but I think the championship policy should add one new rule.
    Since The Ring belt is supposed to be a tangible-yet-practical manifestation of the lineal title, The Ring should add a rule that if a lineal champ loses The Ring belt for not complying with their championship policy but later comes into compliance while the title is still vacant, they should be reinstated.
    For example, Stevenson was stripped for not facing a Top 5 rated foe in over a year (more than that but he was given some leeway). Since he is still the lineal champ, The Ring should reinstate him as their champ IF he beats a Top 5 contender (a la Alverez). However, if Stevenson slides in the rankings and the championship is filled by a No. 1 and No. 2 facing off, this proposed rule wouldn’t apply.
    What do you guys think? Keep in mind my idea is to try to respect The Ring/lineal title connection while also being practical and not letting guys hold the belt hostage.

  • Pat Gill

    Ring has been overly patient with Fury. the facts do not support Fury being ranked at all. I feel the HW. division has a very good group of contenders that at this moment does not include Mr. Fury. Maybe he can comeback but maybe he has ruined his body with all he has done to himself. We won’t know until he does something besides talk.