Tyson Fury has been forced to pull out of his world heavyweight title rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.
Fury, who shocked the world by ending Klitschko’s decade-long reign as the No 1 heavyweight, announced he is ‘medically unfit’ to fight.
Reports in the United States suggested Fury’s withdrawal is due to mental health issues.
Manchester’s Gypsy King postponed his scheduled summer return bout with Klitschko because of a damaged ankle.
STATEMENT FROM TYSON FURY’S CAMP
‘It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that the world heavyweight championship rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, scheduled to take place on the 29th October 2016 at the Manchester Arena, will not be going ahead,’ a statement read.
‘Tyson has, this week, been declared medically unfit to fight. Medical specialists have advised that the condition is too severe to allow him to participate in the rematch and that he will require treatment before going back into the ring. Tyson will now immediately undergo the treatment he needs to make a full recovery.
‘We and Tyson wish to express our sincerest apologies to all those concerned with the event and all the boxing fans who had been looking forward to the rematch. Tyson is understandably devastated by the development.’
His failure to turn up for the London media launch of the October 29th fight in Manchester Arena raised doubts again.
The reason for that non-appearance was given as a breakdown of his car, even though he recently purchased a state of the art Mercedes people carrier costing £150,000.
Another cancellation carries the delay from the first fight beyond a year, which would probably result in Fury being stripped of his titles, with Klitschko fighting another heavyweight for the vacant belts.
Fury, nor his trainer Peter Fury, were available to comment, though it is understood they contacted Klitschko’s team on Friday morning to inform them the fight was to be postponed.
Sources close to the fight maintained that it is a postponement rather than a cancellation, though it remains to be seen if the rematch will ever now happen.
Frank Warren, whose BoxNation channel was due to broadcast the fight, told Sportsmail: ‘The fight has been postponed but will be rescheduled. I’m disappointed for Tyson, for Wladimir and for the fans.’
Fury won the titles last November but was quickly and controversially stripped of the IBF title, which was vacated and won by Anthony Joshua in a fight with Charles Martin. With this latest postponement, the possibility is raised that Fury might now be stripped of his WBA Super and WBO belts.
While this situation is ongoing, Fury must also address a UK anti-doping probe after he allegedly failed a drugs test.
Fury has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
It is another drama in his career, that has seen him repeatedly criticised for his behaviour and his outbursts. He was warned by the British Boxing Board of Control about his ‘responsibilities’ after alleged homophobic remarks and in 2014 he was £15,000 for his antics ahead of his second bout with Dereck Chisora. He subsequently taped up his mouth for his next public appearance in protest.
It’s been a colourful career for one of Britain’s leading fighters, whose initial win of Klitschko ranks as one of the great recent upsets.
But the danger now is that the titles he worked so hard to win will leave his side without a punch thrown.