Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury was stripped of the IBF belt title Tuesday for declining to make his mandatory defense, which is due, against Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov.
The IBF also canceled the purse bid for Fury-Glazkov, which was scheduled for noon ET Friday at the organization's office in Springfield, New Jersey.
To fill the vacancy, the IBF ordered the Florida-based Ukranian Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs) to face unbeaten Carson, California, contender Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20 KOs).
On Nov. 28 in Dusseldorf, Germany, England's Fury won the IBF belt, two other sanctioning organization titles and the lineal world championship with a massive upset of Wladimir Klitschko, whom he outpointed to end Klitschko's 11-year unbeaten streak and his title reign of nine years, seven months and seven days, the second-longest in division history, behind only that of the legendary Joe Louis, who reigned for more than 11 years.
Even though Glazkov loomed as Fury's mandatory challenger, he could not commit to facing him next because Klitschko exercised his contractual right to an immediate rematch, which will take place as soon as April and likely no later than June.
Mick Hennessy, Fury's promoter, expressed disappointment in the IBF for stripping Fury, even though the organization was following its rules.
"If the IBF are going to make a belated moral judgment and strip Tyson Fury because, apparently, [Klitschko promotional company] K2 never told them about the rematch clause, surely they should be just as moral and not take the large sanction fees they are taking," Hennessy told ESPN.com. "In my opinion, the IBF should be ashamed of themselves. First, they called for private negotiations. Canceled. Then they called for purse bids. Canceled. Then they strip Tyson of his title for something he had no control over.
"Tyson as a fighter, Peter [Fury, his uncle] as a trainer and us as a promotional outfit, we did things properly. We went after the elite lineal heavyweight champion in Wladimir Klitschko. We took the hardest route of all and pulled it off big-time."
Even if Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) could get out of the rematch with Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs), he might not want to. Fury will earn many millions more fighting Klitschko again than he would facing the relatively unknown Glazkov.
"Of course, Glazkov would have preferred to go directly to a Fury fight, but I understand that Fury wants to be in control of his career," Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, Glazkov's promoter, told ESPN.com. "That is the same reason that we chose to go this route with Glazkov, rather than give up options to fight [titleholder Deontay] Wilder."
Glazkov was offered a shot at Wilder's version of the title Jan. 16 on Showtime but ultimately decided to go for the vacant IBF belt.
Martin is scheduled to fight 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale (16-0, 14 KOs) on Saturday in a 10-round, NBC-televised Premier Boxing Champions undercard bout at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. However, a source close to the event told ESPN.com Martin would pull out of the fight to ensure his shot at the vacant belt because a loss or injury would knock him out of the fight with Glazkov.
"In my opinion, someone is pulling certain people's strings here, as this new fight they've mandated for the vacant title has very little value, in my opinion," Hennessy said. "In my opinion, this new situation is a cheap shot put together and manipulated by an outfit of cheap players. Bad day for boxing."
A sure sign Martin will pull out is that Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, Martin's representative, sent the IBF a letter later Tuesday saying their side refused to negotiate with Duva and requesting an immediate purse bid. That will move the date of the purse bid to take place in about 10 days, rather than the typical 30 that would have been allowed to give the camps ample time to negotiate a deal.
"I think that these are very exciting times for the heavyweight division, and we are especially pleased that Glazkov is so well-situated," Duva said. "He worked hard to earn his [IBF] No. 1 position, and he will work even harder to defeat Martin. After that, you will have three young, exciting heavyweight champions in the mix and at least a half-dozen other [contenders] who will be anxious to come after them. It's anybody's guess who will turn out to be the best of the lot. And it certainly will be a lot of fun to find out."