Dan Rafael from ESPN was first to break the news that Tyson Fury had tested positive for cocaine. Within hours this story broke around the world. The immediate reaction & general consensus is Tyson Fury will be stripped of all his titles in the coming days.
But really, what’s the big issue? This is boxing. The sport where you can get a 6 month ban for knowingly taking PEDS (performance enhancers), which puts your opponent at serious risk of permanent physical damage.
So let’s compare some scenarios.
Boxer A) Has gone out with friends on a day off during camp or when he’s not fighting. This boxer has consumed large amounts of alcohol. This boxer has then made a poor decision to consume a recreational substance. Probably woke up forgetting he did it. And fails a test. This boxer now faces a 2 year ban from the sport. The recreational substance would have had minimal impact on his performance in the ring. Considering it’s during his camp, it probably would have led to concentration problems and a poor performance in training for days after, effecting his ability to perform in the ring. Thus, this fighters opponent is actually less at risk. Boxer A now faces a 2 year ban.
Boxer B) As is the case in boxing at the moment. Taking performance enhancers usually leads to weak 6 month bans. Which is fantastic for some PED users as it allows them to schedule their next bouts as normal, as most major stars fight twice a year. So fighter B can knowingly take PEDS, which is a clear decision which will help that fighter perform with an unfair advantage. This decision is well thought out and puts his opponent at serious risk of permanent physical injury and potentially death. Boxer B now faces a weak ban and within a year this fighter will be back on the scene & after a few big wins fans will forget what happened.
So essentially boxing has no idea with doping. Recreational substances are leading to extensive bans. Yet performance enhancing drugs are leading to minimal bans. Big deal on Tyson Fury. Yes he should be stripped. But we can’t see how taking a recreational substance is anywhere near as bad as taking a PED which countless other fighters have done, which shows true intent to cause the opponent harm. Tyson was probably out with friends and well and truly intoxicated when this happened. But really who knows? All we know is boxing has a big problem. It’s to light on PEDS & to harsh on recreational drugs. The sport has no balance when it comes to these issues.
We hope Tyson Fury gets well. Takes the next year off and comes back in 2018. Tyson needs to release a heartfelt statement to the press and he needs a new PR team. Tyson can restore his image and he has truckloads of supporters. If there is a time to rally around Tyson Fury, well now is the time.
Strip him of his titles. Don’t impose anything other than a 3 month ban. And support his recovery with his current troubled issues. All Tyson has done is probably made a bad choice while out with friends. Whereas other fighters will take PEDS & get less of a ban, which is a well thought out strategy which will produce harm to the opponent.
Doping in boxing needs an overhaul. This news on Fury isn't even a big issue. Get well champ.