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Fury could lose world heavyweight belt

Tyson Fury has won all of his 25 fights, the most recent of which was against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. PHOTO/BBC.
Tyson Fury has won all of his 25 fights, the most recent of which was against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. PHOTO/BBC.

LONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 11 – British world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will be stripped of his WBO belt unless he responds to a notice from its chairman in the next 10 days.

Fury must explain why the belt should not be vacated due to “inactivity, breach of contract and performance-enhancing drugs”.

Fury withdrew from October’s rematch with Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko because of mental health issues.

The 28-year-old has said he was taking cocaine to help deal with depression.

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) is meeting on 12 October when it will look at Fury’s cocaine admission, which was made during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Manchester fighter Fury currently holds both the WBO and the WBA titles.

WBO chairman Luis Batista-Salas said he was concerned for Fury’s “health, well-being, happiness and prospects for a full and complete recovery”.

However, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza told Sportsweek on Sunday that Fury deserved a chance “to overcome this situation”.

He added: “Our main concern is what’s going on with the title and the whole situation that’s around him.

“I cannot say if we will strip him of the title, a yes or no, but the substance he took is a prohibitive substance that is against the rules and we have to take that into account.”

The boxer’s uncle and trainer Peter Fury said on Sunday that his nephew “will resume his career”.

The Englishman, who has not fought since beating Klitschko last November,postponed the original rematch in June due to an ankle injury.

He beat Klitschko to win the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. Within two weeks Fury was stripped of the IBF title because he was unable to fight mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov.

After the most recent cancellation, Fury tweeted saying he had retired from boxing, which he described as “the saddest thing” he had been involved with, before retracting his statement.

Peter Fury told BBC Radio 5 live that his nephew has been “driven to despair” by his mental health issues, which he said was a form of manic depression.

Compatriot Anthony Joshua – who now holds the IBF world belt that Fury was stripped of in 2015 – could fight Klitschko for the newly vacant belts.

There is an option for Fury to be declared as a “Champion in recess”. This means that fighters can challenge for Fury’s belts while he is unable to fight.

But as soon as Fury is fit to fight again, he can challenge whoever holds his belts upon his return to the ring.

“The titles shouldn’t be held up. While Tyson is out for medical reasons, the titles should be freed up,” Peter Fury said.