The one thing that has killed boxing in recent years has been the fact that there have been too many world Champions at the various weight divisions, coupled with the fact that new weight divisions have been created.
Tyson Fury’s victory over Wladimir Klitschko was a win that had many boxing fans excited as suddenly it looked as if the Heavyweight titles may all be held by one boxer again.
The last time the Heavyweight Championship had all title belts held by one boxer was over ten years ago. Lennox Lewis unified the WBC, IBF and WBA belts to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, but five months later a U.S. Federal Judge ruled that Lewis would be stripped by the WBA of their world championship belt for fighting Michael Grant instead of the association’s number one contender, John Ruiz.
Lewis remained a unified world champion until April 22, 2001, when he was defeated by Hasim Rahman. He regained the WBC and IBF belts following victory in a rematch seven months later. His reign as a unified world champion finally came to an end in September 2002, when he rejected the chance to fight the IBF’s Number one contender, Chris Byrd. He was stripped by the organisation of their belt.
Scarcely a fortnight into his heavyweight championship reign, Tyson Fury has now been stripped of one of the three world title belts he won. Fury was committed to a rematch with Klitschko, so is unable to box the IBF title’s mandatory challenger, Vyacheslav Glazkov next. As a result he has been stripped of their title. So once again the IBF does its best to break up boxing’s unification of titles.
The IBF insist their rules take precedent over contracts signed between individual fighters.
Peter Fury, Tyson’s uncle and trainer, told Boxing News that they will appeal to the IBF but should push come to shove, they will relinquish the title. “A fight of this magnitude, the IBF should only be too happy to be involved in such a megafight. We’re going to appeal to them but if they insist on stripping us, then that belt will go in the dustbin because their belt will mean nothing. If they want to treat us with such disrespect then Tyson Fury will go on national television and throw that belt in the bin.” He is quoted as saying.
The last public trashing of a World Title belt was when Riddick Bowe stripped himself of one of his championship belts and tossed the famous green WBC belt into a dustbin during a news conference in London. Bowe faced being stripped of the title because he refused to fight their number one contender at the time, a boxer called Lennox Lewis.
The IBF was created in 1983 with the WBO being formed in 1988. These are in truth belts with far less street credibility amongst boxing fans as opposed to the WBC and WBA Titles. Maybe it is time Boxing fans refused to accept them altogether, if they continue to try and break up the unifying of titles.