Calf injury forces Wladimir Klitschko to postpone bout against Tyson Fury

ByDan Rafael ESPN logo
Friday, September 25, 2015

Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko suffered a tendon tear in his left calf and on Friday postponed his title defense against British big man Tyson Fury.

Klitschko and Fury, one of his mandatory challengers, were due to meet in a much-anticipated fight on Oct. 24 at the ESPRIT Arena in Dsseldorf, Germany, where a sold-out crowd of around 55,000 was expected.

But just two days after Fury showed up at their press conference in London dressed like Batman, Klitschko announced the delay of the fight with a video on his Instagram account.

"Dear fans, I am sorry to inform you that I have had to postpone my fight with Tyson Fury due to a minor injury," said Klitschko, who has been in training camp in the Austrian mountains. "I am working hard to reschedule the fight, and as soon as I know, I will keep you posted about the new date."

K2 Promotions, Klitschko's promotional company, announced that tickets would remain valid and that a new date for the fight, which will still take place at ESPRIT Arena, would be announced next week.

Klitschko, 39, injured the calf during a training session on Thursday and left his camp to seek treatment from Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Mller-Wohlfahrt, the German national soccer team doctor.

"Especially after the exciting press conference Wednesday, I was looking forward to this fight very much," Klitschko said. "I know that a lot of fans have already organized their trips to support me in Dsseldorf. I am so sorry that I am not able to fight on Oct. 24. I also apologize to my opponent, who has spent many weeks preparing for this fight. I will do my very best to recover as fast as possible."

Mller-Wohlfahrt said in a statement that Klitschko's MRI showed a "partial musculotendinous tear of the left calf. The boxing fight planned for Oct. 24 should be postponed for an indefinite period of time. Due to this injury we strictly recommend ceasing athletic activity in the next weeks."

Fury, 27, was not happy, lashing out at Klitschko on social media by cursing at him.

"Well it's official, Klitschko has pulled out of the fight with an injury in his leg," Fury also said. "It's a bit funny as I predicted this would happen! Don't feel sorry for me. I'll be OK. I'm sorry for the fans. Sorry, guys."

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Klitschko (64-3, 54 KOs), who is from Ukraine, lives in South Florida and is a major star in Germany, has defended the title 18 times during his 9-year reign, the second-longest in heavyweight history behind Joe Louis, who held the title for more than 11 years.

His 18 consecutive successful title defenses are third most in heavyweight history behind Louis' all-time record of 25 and Larry Holmes' 20. He is coming off a one-sided decision victory against then-undefeated Bryant Jennings on April 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York, which was Klitschko's first fight in the United States since 2008. It was also his 27th world title fight appearance (25-2), tied for the all-time division record with Louis.

It's not the first time an injury has caused Klitschko to postpone a fight.

Last year, Klitschko suffered a torn left biceps, forcing him postpone a mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev that was scheduled for September. The fight was rescheduled for November, and Klitschko scored a massive fifth-round knockout, the knockout of the year.

Klitschko had a December 2010 defense scheduled against England's Dereck Chisora that was postponed and eventually canceled because Klitschko tore an abdominal muscle just four days before the fight.

"Unfortunately, these situations are always possible in individual sports," said Klitschko manager Bernd Boente. "We all know about the importance of this event for everyone involved, as well as for all boxing fans. Therefore, we are trying everything possible to postpone this fight to a nearby date at the ESPRIT arena in Dsseldorf."

England's 6-9, 260-pound Fury (24-0, 18 KOs) scored a 10th-round knockout of Chisora -- his second win against him -- in their November title elimination bout to earn the shot at Klitschko.

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