Can Tyson Fury Be Considered a Lineal Heavyweight Champion?

There will be no world titles on the line when Tom Schwarz faces Tyson Fury on Saturday evening. However, Fury believes that he doesn’t require any world titles to be considered a champion. This is because Fury, with a 27-0-1, 19 Knockout record, is already considered by some as the division’s heavyweight lineal champion. Most of his supporters state that he doesn’t require shiny belts to successfully prove that he is at the top of his game as he already managed to outpoint Wladimir Klitschko for three world titles in November 2015 and hasn’t managed to be defeated since.

Fury Promoted as Linear Champion

Tyson Fury is the man who defeated the man. Due to this, the British fighter is once again promoted as the lineal champion when he clashes against the German opponent, with a 24-0-16 Knockout record, in a nontitle fight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

In December 2018, when Fury faced Deontay Wilder as the WBC champion, he stated that he is no challenge for any man and that he is the lineal heavyweight champion in the entire world which essentially means he is the best of the best.

Part of the argument that Fury is making is that he is a direct link to the history of boxing where he connects all the elite heavyweight champions from each of their eras. Fury’s case is that he is the successor to lineal champions from the past, including Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano. Joe Louis, Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Gene Tunney, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Jack Johnson, Evander Holyfield, Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, and Wladimir Klitschko.

A handful of others were regarded as linear champions for less than 12 months, including James Buster Douglas, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, Shannon Briggs, and Hasim Rahman in the past 20 years. Others retired, such as Lewis, Marciano, Louis, and Tunney, while some had their boxing license suspended, including Ali. Therefore, a new linear champion had to be declared back then without him defeating the predecessor.

Fury’s Truth Behind the Linear Champion Statement

Fury believes he forms part of this prestigious history that stretches back for decades, given that the linear championship can easily be traced back to the late 1800s when John L. Sullivan dominated the heavyweight division.

To Fury, ranking is not essential. He considers himself the linear champion and has a status that goes back 100 years. He is remarkably unconcerned about ranking at the moment as Tom Schwarz is ranked higher than him at the moment by the WBO.

Wilder is the WBC titleholder since 2015 and Fury almost defeated Wilder after he controlled most of the bout. However, given the fact that Fury gave up one of his titles, failed a drug test, and got stripped from the other two titles, is it still fair to believe that Fury is indeed a linear champion?