What is the Lineal Champion & does Fury hold the title?

Tyson Fury’s comeback story has been nothing short of inspirational, and his re-emergence in the sport has undoubtedly been a good thing for boxing.

Aside from the personality he brings to the table, many would agree that Fury is the finest heavyweight in the world right now – even after his lengthy lay-off from the sport.

Anyone familiar with the Gypsy King will have heard the title ‘lineal champion’ though not everyone is sure just what that is.

What is the lineal boxing champion?

The idea of a lineal champion is intended to find the top fighter in each weight division, regardless of belts.

Dating back to 1892, the title changes hands whenever the holding lineal champ is beaten.

Fury took over as the lineal heavyweight champion when he defeated the previous holder Wladimir Klitshcko back in 2015.

Deontay Wilder will be looking to become lineal champ, as well as defend his WBC heavyweight title when the pair meet in their highly-anticipated rematch on February 22.


Disputes over his right to hold the title

While Fury remains undefeated, thus technically still holding the lineal champion label, other fighters in the division have questioned the legitimacy of his reign.

After spending nearly three years out of the sport, Anthony Joshua questioned whether Fury should still be classed as the lineal champ without being active and being able to defend his crown.

“You’ve got to have a bit of respect as well. You can’t expect the whole division to go on hold. He had his issues and paused for three years. But the whole division can’t wait and sit down. The ball keeps rolling.” Joshua said of the debate.

Who else has been the lineal champion of the heavyweight division?

  • Riddick Bowe (1992–1993)
  • Evander Holyfield (1993–1994)
  • Michael Moorer (1994)
  • George Foreman (1994–1997)
  • Shannon Briggs (1997–1998)
  • Lennox Lewis (1998–2001)
  • Hasim Rahman (2001)
  • Lennox Lewis (2001–2004; retired)
  • Wladimir Klitschko (2009–2015)
  • Tyson Fury (2015–current)

BT Sport Box Office will show Tyson Fury’s highly anticipated rematch with Deontay Wilder, exclusively live on Saturday 22nd February. Wilder v Fury 2 can be watched on BT TV, the BT Sport Box Office App, Sky, Virgin Media TV and TalkTalk TV or online.

Featured image credit: Getty