LONDON (Reuters) - World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s uncle and trainer says the decision to strip the British fighter of one of his three titles is “absolutely scandalous”.
The 27-year-old title holder, whose comments about homosexuality and women have provoked almost as many headlines as his feats inside the ring, was relieved of his IBF belt after agreeing to a contracted rematch with the Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko instead of fighting the IBF’s mandatory challenger.
The IBF explained its decision to strip Fury of their title on Wednesday, saying the rematch was “in direct violation of an IBF rule”.
Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Glazkov was the number one contender for the IBF title and should have been Fury’s next opponent — the U.S. based organization said.
“Following the title fight between Klitschko and Fury, the IBF became aware for the first time that there was a contractual agreement between both fighters for an immediate rematch,” it said.
“There were no provisions for any rematch in the contracts which were submitted to the IBF prior to the IBF agreeing to sanction the Klitschko vs. Fury bout.”
In an interview in Boxing News, trainer Peter Fury said: “It’s absolutely scandalous. I’ve not spoken to Tyson yet but we’re dealing with it.
“But we’ve got a rematch that we’re tied to. We have to take that fight. A fight of this magnitude, the IBF should only be too happy to be involved in such a megafight.”
Fury, who still holds the WBA and WBO versions of the title, has been shortlisted for the BBC’s prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award — a move widely criticized after his controversial comments on a range of topics.
An online petition calling on the BBC to deselect him because of comments widely seen as homophobic has now gathered close to 100,000 signatures.
On Wednesday Britain’s Sports Journalist’s Association (SJA) said it had withdrawn its invitation to Tyson Fury to attend next week’s British Sports Awards.
“The decision was made as a consequence of threats made by Fury against at least one sports journalist, an SJA member, who has written about the boxer’s repugnant comments on homosexuality and women,” the SJA said in a statement.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed on Wednesday that they had received a report of “hate crime” in connection with comments made by Fury on a BBC program.
Responding to the latest controversies on Twitter, Fury said on Wednesday: “Freedom of speech is the biggest load of Shite ever, if the WBA&WBO&IBO want to strip me go ahead.”
American Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt.
Additional reporting by Ken Ferris; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Neville Dalton