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Wladimir Klitschko pulls out of Tyson Fury fight with injury

WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight boxer, Wladimir

WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight boxer, Wladimir Klitschko speaks during a press conference for the heavyweight title bout against British heavyweight Tyson Fury on October 24, 2015 in Duesseldorf, Germany, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Credit: AP / Frank Augstein

BERLIN -- Wladimir Klitschko pulled out of his heavyweight title defense against Tyson Fury on Friday because of a torn tendon in his left calf.

The Ukrainian was scheduled to defend his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA belts against the British fighter in Duesseldorf on Oct. 24.

He sustained the injury in training on Thursday and traveled to Munich to be treated by Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt.

"After a thorough examination we diagnosed a musculo-tendinous injury in the left calf area. We started therapy and strongly recommended that Mr. Klitschko takes a break from sport," Mueller-Wohlfahrt said. "We're confident that Mr. Klitschko can still take part in the planned world title fight this year."

The 39-year-old Klitschko, who hasn't been beaten for more than a decade, expressed regret the fight had to be postponed.

The withdrawal came just two days after Klitschko appeared at a news conference with Fury in London to promote the fight. Fury dressed up as Batman and wrestled a man wearing a Joker costume to the ground, knocking Klitschko's belts to the ground in a staged performance.

"I know that many fans have already made travel arrangements to support me," Klitschko said Friday. "I'm really very sorry that I can't fight on Oct. 24. Of course the same goes for my opponent, who has been preparing for this fight for weeks. I'll do everything I can to be fit again as quickly as possible."

Fury's misfortune is a familiar one. Compatriot David Haye twice postponed their scheduled bout and then pulled out of it altogether in 2013, and another British fighter, Dereck Chisora, delayed their rematch in 2014 after picking up a hand injury in training.

"I'm not really too bothered about myself because they're talking about rescheduling, but I gotta feel sorry for the fans again. (It seems to) be every big fight I get involved in, and all my supporters and fans, they always lose out," Fury told Sky Sports.

"Things are hard. People, they're doing this because they're showing support, but some of my fans can't afford to go really, but they pushed the boat out because it's a massive occasion, it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I'm wounded for all these people and this happens too much in boxing, and it's not the fighters that pay for it, it's the fans," Fury said.

The 27-year-old recalled how his bouts against Haye were also delayed.

"You gotta wonder what's going through their minds. Am I that intimidating? Am I that scary? Batman worked a treat then, didn't he? And cost me a big fight again, but you know, it's one of those things. Klitschko, let's hope he reschedules. He can't go anywhere else. The only option is to retire just like the other man did, with no name. So am I going to be the man who retires people rather than (them) fight me, or is he going to fight? We will find out," Fury said.

Bernd Boente, the head of Klitschko's management group, said efforts would be made to find an alternate date for the bout in Duesseldorf.

"Unfortunately such things can always happen in individual sports," Boente said.

Fury, unbeaten with 18 knockouts in 24 wins, is bidding to become the first fighter since Lamon Brewster on April 10, 2004 to defeat the 6-foot-6 Klitschko. Fury stands 6-foot-9. Klitschko has 53 knockouts from his 64 wins, with three defeats.

New York Sports