How to Solve a Problem like Tyson Fury?

imageBy Alex Beard (@alex_beard17)

For WBO and WBA heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, the problem has never really been in the ring. Sure, he faced adversity early in his career against the likes of John McDermott and Steve Cunningham, but that has been nothing compared to his recent troubles.

This week it was announced that Fury’s rematch with Wladimir Klitschko has been called off for a second time, with Fury’s representatives claiming that their man was “medically unfit to fight.” The fight was set for October 29 having been originally scheduled for July 9 of this year.

Fury pulled out of their original rematch after suffering an ankle injury and this second postponement leaves the future of the champion and the belts he possesses in limbo.

Hennessy Sports, Fury’s management team, confirmed the news on Friday night: “It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that the world heavyweight championship rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, scheduled to take place on the 29th October 2016 at the Manchester Arena, will not be going ahead.

“Tyson has, this week, been declared medically unfit to fight. Medical specialists have advised that the condition is too severe to allow him to participate in the rematch and that he will require treatment before going back into the ring. Tyson will now immediately undergo the treatment he needs to make a full recovery.”

Certainly it is a shame that this fight will not be going ahead in October – and possibly ever. Without a repeat of the contest we will never know if Fury’s victory was down to his skills or to Klitschko’s reluctance to let his hands go. However, the real issue is the health and mind-set of the champion.

Fury’s team did not disclose whether his condition was physical or mental, and of course all speculation should be conducted in a respectful way, but the signs point to a motivational issue as much as anything else.

Fury has repeatedly spoken about how he is not in love with boxing. While others like Anthony Joshua have expressed a desire to fight until they’re 40, Fury claims that he only boxes because he is good at it – not because of any passion he has for the sport. So if Fury woke up one morning and decided he wanted to retire as an undefeated champion, don’t be surprised.

He has also discussed his fear of never being able to top that famous night in Germany where he dethroned the long-reigning Klitschko. That statement was countered, though, by Fury saying he needed the money from boxing to put food on the table for his family. Of course he will have earned plenty of cash for that win in November – but it was in November, almost a year ago now.

So perhaps Fury signed up for these rematches with that in mind, not accomplishments. He may not have felt the fire to go and take on a guy he’s already beaten. If he wins he’s in the same position he is now, if not then he loses those titles he worked so hard for. Is it any surprise that a fighter who is not in love with the sport, who is facing the exact opponent he just beat, has pulled out?

If the rematch clause had not been inserted in the original Klitschko-Fury contract, this may have all been avoided. Fury could have gone straight from that clash to a mega-fight with Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder. Motivation may not have been such a problem in that case. Or it may have been, we simply don’t know what’s going on in Fury’s head.

Team Fury are already setting about fixing this problem. Medical treatment is exactly what this man needs and hopefully his condition can be rectified through these measures. Fury remains the best heavyweight in the world, and if he is able to return to the ring then it will be fantastic news for all boxing fans. If not, then he can reflect on some unbelievable achievements in the sport and be able to focus on his family and his health.

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