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Commonwealth crown tarnished


British media darling Tyson Fury will challenge for the Commonwealth heavyweight championship on Saturday — something no Canadian-born fighter has been allowed to do since Edmonton’s Ken Lakusta was stopped in 11 rounds by future world champion Trevor Berbick in 1983.

Incredibly, over the 119-year history of the British Empire/Commonwealth crown, only two native-born Canadians — Tommy Burns and Larry Gains — have won it, and Lakusta and Vancouver’s Gordie Racette are the only homegrown fighters to challenge for it.

Apparently, British challengers get a free pass, no matter how pedestrian their records.

Fury, 14-0 with 10 KOs, will be going up against London-based champion Dereck Chisora, who is also 14-0 but has one less stoppage than the 6-foot-9 challenger, whose freakish size and boy-next-door demeanour have captivated Britain’s sporting press.

While the champ at least has a win over Danny Williams — the same Danny Williams who KO’d Mike Tyson in 2004 — Fury’s record is littered with the likes of Zack Page, Tomas Mrazek and Daniil Peretyatko.

Page, a 38-year-old journeyman, was 21-32 when Fury beat him in a unanimous decision seven months ago in Quebec City. Mrazek was 4-22-5 when he went the distance with Fury in 2009, while Peretyatko was 15-20.

All of which begs the question: Why is this guy getting a crack at the Commonwealth crown when at least three Canadians are more deserving?

CBF champion Neven Pajkic is 16-0. Patrice L’Heureux of Shawinigan, Quebec, is 24-5. JF Bergeron of Montreal is 27-2.

And you could make a strong argument to throw Edmonton’s Tye Fields — a transplanted American — and his 48-4 record in the mix.

But no. The British Boxing Board of Control seems to want to keep it all in the family on the other side of the pond.
Regardless of the outcome, Saturday’s fight — which airs live on Super Channel at 3pm ET — will only reinforce the BBBC’s reputation as an old boys’ club that wants to maintain the status quo, woeful though it may be.

We can only hope Chisora, who was born in Zimbabwe, bursts Fury’s bubble and gets on with the business of accepting more legitimate challenges.
“Fury brings a dream, and little else, into the ring,” Chisora told last week.

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