Action Images/Lee Smith
TYSON FURY has vacated his world heavyweight titles.
Fury had been due to defend his WBA and WBO belts on October 29 against former champion Wladimir Klitschko, whom Tyson sensationally dethroned in Germany last year.
Fury had to pull out of the rematch due to a medical condition. He has since spoken of mental health issues and recreational drug use. He is said to have failed a VADA test for cocaine and was due to appear before a UK Anti-Doping hearing after an alleged doping violation.
A statement issued by his team said:
Tyson Fury has this evening announced that he has voluntarily vacated his WBO, WBA and IBO World Heavyweight titles with immediate effect to fully focus on his medical treatment and recovery.
Tyson defeated the then linear world champion Wladimir Klitschko in Germany last November in one of the biggest ever upsets in sporting history to claim the unified world titles. However, due to a serious medical condition, Tyson was forced to withdraw from defending his titles against Klitschko in the rematch scheduled for October 29 in Manchester.
Tyson values the rich and treasured history of the heavyweight division which has had countless legendary champions and believes that the titles should be kept active. Therefore out of respect for the governing bodies, the sport of boxing and the heavyweight division, Tyson has made the difficult decision to vacate the belts. This will also allow him the time and space to fully recover from his present condition without any undue pressure and with the expert medical attention he requires and his close family support.
“I feel that it is only fair and right and for the good of boxing to keep the titles active and allow the other contenders to fight for the vacant belts that I proudly won and held as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world when I defeated the long-standing champion Wladimir Klitschko,” said Tyson.
He added, “I won the titles in the ring and I believe that they should be lost in the ring, but I’m unable to defend at this time and I have taken the hard and emotional decision to now officially vacate my treasured World titles and wish the next in-line contenders all the very best as I now enter another big challenge in my life which I know, like against Klitschko, I will conquer.”
Mick Hennessy, Tyson’s promoter from the start of his professional career, said, “Tyson will still be the linear World Heavyweight Champion in everyone’s eyes. He beat the most dominant champion in the modern era of boxing on an amazing night in Germany to earn that accolade and that will never change. Whilst it’s heartbreaking to see Tyson vacate the world titles that he worked so long and hard for all his life, what’s paramount now is that he receives the medical treatment along with the love of his family and friends and the support of the boxing world to make a full recovery.”
Peter Fury, Tyson’s uncle and trainer, said, “Tyson will be back stronger from this and I will make sure, no matter what we have to deal with, Tyson not only comes back but will reclaim what’s rightfully his. I’m very proud of my nephew’s achievements.”