As a boxing historian, Tyson Fury has always taken great pride in being the lineal heavyweight champion.
Former WBC heavyweight champion Tony Bellew, however, disputed Fury’s status as a lineal champion due to his recent departure and numerous retirements.
Lineal championship isn’t something everyone recognizes in boxing, but in theory it goes to “man who beat man” and carries on through the generations.
So anytime in history there was an undisputed champion, whoever beat him would become the lineal champion and the only way to pass that on would be for someone to beat that man.
There are issues if a lineal champion retires, dies, or changes weight classes, but in that case, the number ones and twos in the division would be battling it out to crown the next lineal champion.
Although, due to the fact that there is no physical belt or organization keeping track of the lineal title, it is often disputed.
That being said, when Fury beat Klitschko in 2015 he became the lineal champion and having not been beaten since then, that title stands.
As previously stated, however, when a lineal champion retires, numbers one and two fight for the title, so it could be proven that Oleksandr Usyk is the champion, or in Bellew’s case, he thinks Lennox Lewis, who retired in 2003, has just as much right to the lineal championship.
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Bellew made the comments while talking about the collapse of negotiations between Fury and Joshua in an interview on IFL TV.
“I think it’s amazing what [Fury’s] done,” Bellew said. “But you can’t pull out every five minutes and then say that [you’re] come back.
“You just retired and you let one and two fight… It’s funny isn’t it because right now I don’t hear the word lineal champion anymore. Is it because he’s not the lineal champ, or is he the lineal champ? I do not know.”
“Well,” Bellew continued. “In my opinion, Lennox Lewis is the lineal champ. Lennox Lewis has retired fewer times than Tyson Fury.
“Lennox Lewis retired once, Tyson Fury retired twice. So which direction are we headed? I’m just stating facts.
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