Earlier this week, word came out that heavyweight champion Tyson Fury would be pulling out of his October rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, the man he de-throned last year. It was the second time he has pulled out of this return bout and the statement issued by his manager gave no indication that he would be returning to action anytime soon. While the statement from Fury’s team gave no information about the nature of his medical issue, ESPN’s Dan Rafael wrote that multiple sources have stated the big man from Manchester is suffering from mental health problems.
Nobody should pile on Fury and kick him while he is down, but it is probably time for the division to move on. Klitschko’s own team has indicated that the former champion is ready and able to fight. Now north of 40, the Ukrainian legend cannot likely afford any longer delays.
Coming right on the heels of Fury’s withdrawal, British promoter Eddie Hearn issued a statement that IBF belt holder Anthony Joshua is ready and able to fill in as a late replacement, in the event that the WBA and WBO decide to strip Fury.
Joshua’s own IBF strap is about as legitimate as a Rolex purchased from a methhead hanging around Port Authority. The IBF took it from Fury last year, so that the irrelevant Vyacheslav Glazkov could contend for it against the even more irrelevant Charles Martin. Martin captured the vacant “title” when Glazkov injured his ankle. He was knocked out by Joshua in his first defense.
Joshua’s title may not have any legitimacy, but his talent cannot be denied. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist at super heavyweight is the most exciting young fighter in the division. Just under three full years into his professional career, he is 17-0 with 17 KOs. His last two wins were dominant stoppages of undefeated prospects Martin and Dominic Breazeale.
At 26, he is the class of the under-30 crowd and the future of the weight class. It says a lot for his potential that a smart promoter like Hearn is already willing to throw him in with an experienced destroyer like Klitschko.