The WBO have made the first immediate move that could end in unified heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury being stripped of his title by next week.
Fury, who holds the WBO, WBA and IBO belts, has been inactive for almost a year and the subject of failed drug tests over the past few months.
As the next two contenders, Josesph Parker and American Andy Ruiz wait in line to contest the strap, the WBO are setting the wheels in motion to relieve Fury, 28, of the championship.
An official document sent by the WBO Championship Committee to Fury reads as follows:
Dear World Champion Fury,
We have received and thank you for the response to the WBO’s September 26, 2016 Certification Request of your Medical Report of September 21, 2016 and the Supplemental Report of September 28, 2016 concerning the conditions described therein. Everyone at the WBO is concerned for your health, well-being, happiness and prospects for a full and complete recovery.
The reports, however, continue to be provisional and conditional. The September 21, 2016 report indicates a report is being prepared which will contain the relevant chronological events and antecedents to your condition. The September 28, 2016 Supplemental report also states that the prognosis is conditioned on the absence of any other psychological issue.
On November 28, 2015, the WBO Heavyweight Championship took place at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany between then Champion Wladimir Klitschko and you that enabled you to become the WBO Heavyweight Champion of the World by unanimous decision.
A rematch was scheduled for July 9th 2016 but never took place due to your training injury on June 24th 2016 that we heard of through the news. Immediately, the WBO requested an Interim Certification of your recovery status from your training injury.
The rematch was rescheduled for October 29th in Manchester, UK. Notwithstanding, on September 14th, the WBO sent the sanction for the bout. The sanction stated the following provisions:
By September 23rd 2016, the bout is again postponed and the WBO finds out through the news, prompting the Committee to request the second Interim Certification on September 26th.
Additionally, the WBO has received the September 29th VADA Drug Testing Report, VADA3769 (D5CO3) containing an adverse analytical finding from a September 22nd test. We ask you to advise if you have requested analysis of the “B” Sample. Also, the WBO received information from the BBB of C that you refused to be tested the week prior to September 22nd.
When you signed the rematch contract, you agreed to the following:
Rule 19 of the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests provides:
“SECTION 19. FAILURE OF THE CHAMPION TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CONTRACT OR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RULES
(a) If a World Champion fails to comply with his contractual obligation to fight in a WBO World Championship bout without justifiable cause, or tests positive for an illegal or any performance enhancing drug after a title bout, or fails to inform the WBO of any medical condition, impairment or any other circumstance which jeopardizes his participation in a WBO World Championship contest, or if a Champion or any of his team members misleads, attempts to mislead, or petitions a Local Boxing Commission to illegally or incorrectly license said Champion, the Committee may recommend to the WBO President and to the Executive Committee that the fighter be stripped of the title and that the title be declared vacant.
(b) However, if the Champion is unable to defend his Championship within the time periods provided in these Rules because he is physically disabled for a justified cause, and said disability has been verified and accepted by the World Championships Committee, the Champion may be granted a reasonable time to recover from the disability and retrain to competitive condition, which shall not in total exceed 180 days. The disability extension will be granted only if the Committee determines, based on competent medical advice, that the Champion is reasonably expected to recover from his disability within the maximum allowable term of the disability extension. The Committee may condition its approval of a disability extension upon the Champion providing interim medical certifications that he is reasonably expected to recover within the term of the disability extension.
(c) A disability extension shall be approved only by the vote of the World Championships Committee. If the Champion’s recover time exceeds the maximum term of the disability extension, or if upon receipt of an interim medical certification the World Championship Committee determines that the Champion is not reasonably likely to recover and be prepared to defend his Championship within the term of the disability extension, the title shall be declared vacant and a Vacant or Interim Championship fight, as the case may be, shall be held for the title pursuant to the provisions of the World Championships Regulations.
(d) The Championship Committee may order an Interim championship bout when the Champion is incapacitated, inactive, or when a Champion is moving out of his division to fight for another championship. In this case the interim Champion must defend his interim title against the Champion, if the Champion who vacated his Title due to disability is medically able and prepared to compete for the Championship within 180 days of the Interim Championship. If an interim Championship is held due to a Champion’s inactivity, the Champion must defend his title against the Interim Champion within 120 days of the interim Championship or the Interim Champion shall become Champion.”
Also, the Regulations of World Championship Contests Section 5 (c) states:
SECTION 5. DEFENSE OF THE TITLE
“ …(c) The WBO World Championship Committee may, in its discretion, vacate a Champion’s title regardless of cause or fault if the Champion fails to defend his title within a nine (9) month period (12 months in the case of the Heavyweight Division). This decision will be final unless appealed to the Complaint and Grievance Committee within ten (10) days of Notification to the Champion as provided for in these Rules. A Champion so stripped of his Title shall be classified using the WBO rating criteria, and he shall be classified in his division or in such other weight division as the Classifications Committee for good cause determines, provided that he has complied with the WBO and ABC rating criteria…”
The general principle of the Regulation states as follows:
“…The World Championship has been established for generations as the highest objective in professional boxing. A World Championship is not the property of any boxer. The Championship is a trust, subject to the conditions defined herein, for the use and benefit of all boxers and boxing fans, who through their contribution of time, effort, risks and resources sustain the existence of the profession. The World Boxing Organization encourages each World Champion and Challenger to be an example of the highest ideals and spirit of sportsmanship. A World Champion is an integral part of the sport of boxing, but he is not greater than the sport of boxing. A World Champion’s sportsmanship shows his respect for the profession he has chosen, including the Champion himself, his opponent, the World Boxing Organization, and, most importantly, boxing fans worldwide…”
According to the Regulations, Section 1(7) (21), the World Championship Committee shall have the following authority:
“…(7) To recommend to the President and the Executive Committee that a Title should be vacated if a Champion fails to comply with the WBO World Championship Rules; and
(21) To vacate a championship title regardless of cause or fault if the Champion has not defended within a nine (9) month period…”
Taking all of the previous under consideration, the WBO Championship Committee decided that you have ten (10) calendar days, final and non–extendable to show cause why your title should not be vacated due to inactivity, breach of contract and performance enhancing drugs and stimulants.
Duly notified, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 7th 2016
Luis Batista-Salas, Esq. Chairman – WBO Championship Committee