From Tyson Fury to Mike Tyson – The shortest heavyweight title reigns

Tyson Fury Mike Tyson Riddick Bowe Heavyweight

From current champion Tyson Fury, now enjoying his second spell as champion, to his namesake Mike Tyson, WBN delves into the record books to look at the shortest ever world heavyweight title reigns in history.

Over the years, the complication of more organizations in the mix has muddied the waters for unified holders.

That’s where most of the minimal spells as a world ruler have emanated from on this list. Below, WBN looks at the ten briefest title tenures since boxing began.

1/ TYSON FURY – 10 DAYS

The top honor goes to none other than current number one Tyson Fury, who held the IBF strap for just TEN DAYS in 2015.

Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko in Germany to claim four crown versions but was given an almost instant ultimatum by the IBF.

Having already been contracted and obliged to give Klitschko a rematch, Fury got backed into a corner.

The title then had to be relinquished and was eventually fought for by Charles Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov. Martin won via stoppage in January 2016.

2/ RIDDICK BOWE – 1 MONTH, 1 DAY

Winning the unified IBF, WBA, and WBC titles in November 1992 against Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe would give up the World Boxing Council version just over a month later.

The WBC wanted Bowe to face Lennox Lewis next. Bowe had other ideas and chucked his green and gold strap in the bin at an infamous press conference.

Bowe would instead take on Michael Dokes and knock him out in less than a round.

3/ LEON SPINKS – 1 MONTH 3 DAYS

Scoring one of the biggest shocks in boxing history, Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali in February 1978.

Having claimed Ali’s WBC and WBA belts, Spinks subsequently got ordered to face number one contender Ken Norton.

Rather than battle Norton, Spinks chose the most lucrative option in Ali. The WBC stripped him of the green and gold strap.

Spinks then dropped his WBA version in a rematch reverse to Ali in September.

4/ MIKE TYSON & TONY TUCKER – 2 MONTHS, 2 DAYS

Mike Tyson took out Bruce Seldon in just 109 seconds to win the WBA title in September 1996.

Agreeing to defend his title just two months and two days later, Tyson got stopped by Evander Holyfield in eleven rounds.

6/ LUCAS BROWNE – 2 MONTHS, 7 DAYS

Beating Ruslan Chagaev to win the WBA ‘regular’ (now unrecognized) version on March 5th, 2016, Lucas Browne tested positive for a banned substance in the aftermath.

The WBA eventually took away the Australian’s title on May 12th.

Ruslan Chagaev
Picture by Digital Sports

7/ RUSLAN CHAGAEV – 2 MONTHS 13 DAYS

On May 12th, 2016, Ruslan Chagaev was reinstated following his previous defeat to Lucas Browne. Uzbek’s finest retired from boxing just two months and thirteen days later.

8/ KEN NORTON – 2 MONTHS 22 DAYS

Installed as WBC champion in place of Leon Spinks in March 1978, Ken Norton lost the championship in his first defense against Larry Holmes in June.

9/ MUHAMMAD ALI – 2 MONTHS, 23 DAYS

Beating Ernie Terrell in February 1967, Muhammad Ali became a fully unified heavyweight champion. A defense followed in March against Zara Folley.

Two months and 23 days after adding the WBA version to his WBC and NYSAC belts, Ali gave up his position on April 29, 1967, in direct opposition to the Vietnam War.

Ali would not fight again until 1970.

10/ CHARLES MARTIN – 2 MONTHS, 24 DAYS

American Charles Martin picked up the IBF title harshly taken from Fury in 2015 against Glazkov in early 2016. Two months and 24 days on, Anthony Joshua pummelled the ‘Prince’ in London to win his first-ever world title.

WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN us on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.