By Jake Tiernan: Chris Algieri believes Tyson Fury should be stripped of his WBC heavyweight title for not defending it and focusing instead on doing side deals to face the non-boxer Francis Ngannou on October 28th in a crossover fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
If Fury is stripped, the popular Zhilei Zhang (26-1-1, 21 KOs) and Filip Hrgovic could battle for the vacant WBC belt in China in a rematch of their contest last year.
What’s even more troubling is Fury isn’t even discussing the possibility of defending his WBC title next. He is talking about fighting either Ngannou or UFC heavyweight Jon Jones in the cage in an MMA fight.
Paulie Malignaggi says the World Boxing Council should give Fury a deadline of 120 days to make a mandatory defense of his title after his ten round fight against Ngannou on October 28th.
It’s been over a year since Fury last defended against his WBC mandatory challenger, Dillian Whyte, in April 2022, which was 17 months ago.
The WBC title is supposed to be defended on an annual basis against a mandatory challenger, and Fury thus far has skipped that.
Instead, he’s made a side deal to pick up some coin while the contenders in the WBC’s rankings are left out in the cold.
If Fury doesn’t make a mandatory defense this year, it’ll be two years since his last defense when 2024 rolls around.
While the WBC might be fine with Fury sitting on their title for 2+ years without making a mandatory defense, the contenders that are waiting for their shot at that belt can’t be pleased.
Strip Fury of WBC title
Chris Algieri: “I say strip Fury. Hrgovic & Zhang fight for that title with the WBC.That would be a dream. It’s not going to happen,” said Algieri to ProBoxing TV forum.
Tim Bradley: “Don’t strip Fury. For what?” said ESPN commentator Bradley.
Algieri: “Because he hasn’t defended.”
Bradley: “Look, man, I understand that, but Fury needs a tune-up fight before he goes into a big fight with Usyk.”
Algieri: “I don’t think he’s [Fury] going to have a big fight with anybody. He’s talking about fighting Jon Jones next. He’s not fielding boxing questions.”
Bradley: “Listen to me. The reason why he didn’t fight Usyk right now is because he promised Ngannou that he was going to face him. After he got done with Whyte. Ngannou got in the ring. It might have been with Chisora.
“Ngannou, I remember him getting in the ring, and they were talking, going back and forth, and the fight was basically being produced right there, being made right there.”
What Bradley isn’t saying is that the only reason Ngannou was allowed into the ring after Fury’s fight with the 39-year-old Derek Chisora or Dillian Whyte is because he was already planning in fighting him. Fury promising Ngannou has nothing to do with it.
Fury allowed Ngannou into the ring because he was already in the planning stages of fighting him.
“So Fury was going in negotiations with Usyk, and somehow Fury just kept moving the needle,” said Bradley. “He didn’t really want to take the fight because he owed Ngannou this opportunity to make the most money he’s ever made in his entire career because he had brought him in and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s let’s make this happen.’
“So that’s the reason why this fight is happening. That’s what I believe. From the outside looking in, he [Fury] set this up. He said, ‘No, I’m going to give him an opportunity, just as he did with Chisora. He gave him an opportunity. He wanted Chisora, who fights everybody to make the biggest paycheck of his entire career.”
Algieri: “He’s [Fury] making side deals on his own, and he’s holding onto a belt [WBC] that he hasn’t defended in over a year. It’s going to be it’s going to be a year and change until if he were to come back in and box again.
“What are we doing with that [WBC] title? It’s sitting idle; it’s not being defended. The other fighters are not being able to vie for it to become a world champion, and we’re not getting an undisputed.
“Listen, I understand what you’re saying. He owed it to him because he said he would, and he’s a man of his word, and I appreciate that. I like Ngannou making his money. These titles matter.”
Zhang – Hrgovic in China = History-making
Paulie Malignaggi: “It has nothing to do with ‘being a man of his word.’ He [Fury] makes so much more money fighting Ngannou than he does fighting Usyk. Yeah, he gave him his word. Of course, he’s going to give him his word.
There’s so much more money on the table fighting Ngannou than fighting Usyk, and it’s a much easier fight. I give you my word, too, bro. of course.”
That’s another reason why Fury needs to be stripped of his WBC title. He’s facing non-boxers while ignoring the contenders and his mandatory. What other sport would allow a team to make side money on another team that’s not in the league?
Bradley: “So I tell you this, Paulie. If you were in the same situation as Fury, would you would you do the same thing if you had the control?
Malignaggi: “At 35 years old, absolutely, but the WBC is supposed to go by the rules. They’re supposed to strip Fury or give him a deadline for a defense.
“We’ll give you the Ngannou allowance, but within 120 days, you’ve got to make a title defense after that. You can still enforce some things instead of playing the politics. Politics always rules. That’s the problem.
“That’s why we can still make Zhang and Hrgovic in China. You can still make that rematch in the meantime. Give Hrgovic what he wants, and he’ll go to China. Everybody has a price.
“You give him a ridiculous amount of money, which China can afford. He’s going to take a shot and go to China. It’s history-making, a big fight in China.”
Algieri: “From what I understand, they [Hrgovic] want a title. They’re less worried about making money right now than getting a title. Titles equate to money. When you have the title, You garner more attention, you garner more money. You can make that big money, especially at heavyweight.
“So I believe Hrgovic squad, they’re looking for titles. They’re not looking for the paydays, and I just think it’s very, very risky to go back into the fray with Zhang, especially since he seems like he’s gotten better to put that [IBF] mandatory at risk, especially when you’re that close to getting a title fight, which is what they want.”
Bradley: “What about the undisputed championship? That’s still there. After Fury gets done, you have to think about this. You don’t think that these sanctioning bodies are going to want to have this undistributed championship of the world at heavyweight?
“It’s been 20-something years. They’re going to want to have that. So Hrgovic might have to end up waiting, too. He’s gonna have to wait too.”
Malignaggi: “If they wanted it that badly, they [World Boxing Council] would have they would have stripped Fury for fighting Ngannou, but they wanted to jump in on that. So how important is it if you’re allowing Fury instead of doing the Usyk fight to do the sideshow against Ngannou?
“Is it that important, or is it always about money? The million dollar man used to say, ‘Everybody has a price.’ Hrgovic will go over to China for the right price.”