By Frank Warren
When Tyson Fury dislodged Wladimir Klitschko from his firmly rooted perch last November the heavyweight scene, for the first time in a long while, captured the imagination again.
With the WBO, WBA Super and IBF belts under new management and Deontay Wilder holding the WBC title with growing distinction, the division was coming alive.
The big Aussie Lucas Browne then snared the WBA regular version of the championship and the IBF belt – snatched away with indecent haste from Fury – ultimately ended up in the hands of Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua.
There was also the sideshow of the always charismatic David Haye re-entering the ranks after a lengthy absence.
The jostling for position to become the king of the heavyweight swingers promised to become an entertaining spectacle.
Then it all got a bit confusing and the heavyweight picture has become a little cloudy. Momentum has been lost, or at least stalled.
First off, Big Daddy Browne was deemed to have fallen foul of doping regulations in the wake of his defeat of Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny.
Traces of a fat burner were discovered in his sample and the spoils of his victory were never dispatched to his Sydney home.
This one never smelt right from the beginning. Why would a heavyweight boxer require the use of a fat burner when they are not subject to the stringent weight demands of other divisions? It also emerged categorically that he arrived in Russia a clean athlete and whatever entered his system was consumed during fight week in Chechnya.
Given the revelations of state-sponsored doping that have blighted Russian sport and even threatened participation in the forthcoming Rio Olympics, I can’t help thinking Browne has been hard done by and should have been afforded the benefit of the doubt.
He is rightly making a legal challenge to the WBA’s decision to strip him of his hard-earned title. It now transpires that Chagaev has been stripped of his reinstated status after declining to pay sanction fees, muddying the waters even further.
That belt is up for grabs again and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where Haye comes into play once more, with Browne hopefully also back in the picture.
The WBA ‘tournament’ to establish a pecking order for challenges to their champion appears to be collapsing. Luis Ortiz was set to fight Alexander Ustinov, but now Ortiz has pulled out having agreed terms with Golden Boy, so that is up in the air as well.
Like Browne, Fury is also seeking legal recourse following accusations of doping misdemeanours made against himself and cousin Hughie.
Yesterday, Charles Flint QC provisionally lifted Tyson and Hughie’s ridiculous suspensions, pending a hearing.
Flint’s ruling means Fury’s highly-anticipated rematch against Klitschko, broadcast exclusively live on BoxNation, is free to go ahead on Saturday 29th October at the Manchester Arena.
I don’t understand for the life of me how it has got into this position. If he was positive, why on earth did they allow him to fight on?
It is my understanding he has been tested on a regular basis, 10-15 tests since. I don’t get how they let him and Hughie fight on if they were deemed to have failed a test.
Why has it taken so long to do anything, why the press leaks?
What is astonishing is that UKAD actually sat down with them at the time and advised them about diets and what to eat. Why go to all that trouble, allowing him to fight Klitschko and advising them not to eat too much of certain food types as they create nandrolone.
I understand the Board of Control also don’t understand why we are in this position – nobody can understand why we are where we are with it. It is ridiculous and I don’t know where it is going.
Hopefully the High Court will quickly clear up this mess of UKAD’s own making so that Tyson can get back to doing what he does best and dominate the heavyweight landscape.
The WBC belt will not be up for grabs for a little while due to Wilder’s various injuries and it is yet to be determined who Joshua will fight next, with Joseph Parker, Bermane Stiverne and Kubrat Pulev named as the likely lads for a bash at the back end of the year.
The heavyweight division was galvanised but it now appears temporarily paralysed. It is always a great pity when boxers find the need to call on the services of judges other than those sitting at ringside.
More from Frank tomorrow