Tyson Fury failed to show for the press conference to promote his 29 October rematch with Wladimir Klitschko amid claims his car had broken down.
His manager, Mick Hennessy, also insisted his phone had run out of battery and that he was stuck in traffic. It was revealed, however, that his hearing with the independent National Anti-Doping Panel will take place on a date to be confirmed in November.
Frank Warren of BoxNation – the channel televising the fight – and Hennessy said that Mr Charles Flint QC of the High Court had given permission for the 29 October date to proceed.
“Tyson’s not here,” said Warren. “His car broke down on the way down, we’ve just found out, so he’s stuck somewhere on the M6. That is a problem for us: apologies to everybody, to [Klitschko’s promotional company] K2 and Wladimir.
“Mr Flint, who is the head of the tribunal, has ruled that the fight will go ahead and the hearing will take place afterwards, so there is no danger of that stopping the fight happening. There is no way this fight does not happen unless, God forbid, one of them gets an injury.”
Hennessy, who has guided Fury’s career since he turned professional, added: “Apologies once again for Tyson not attending. We only spoke to him once; his battery’s gone.
“He’s had problems with traffic, and also the car he was in broke down, so all we can do is get on with it.
“This is the very first press conference Tyson has ever missed, he is normally very early at press conferences and he is normally very entertaining at press conferences. So this is not the norm and we are not making it up.”
Klitschko experienced David Haye missing a press conference to promote their fight in 2011, and spoke with some uncertainty about whether the rematch for Fury’s WBA and WBO heavyweight titles would take place.
They were originally scheduled to fight on 9 July before an ankle injury forced Fury’s withdrawal.
It then emerged that UK-Anti Doping had charged the champion, over a urine sample taken in February 2015, and his cousin Hughie with a doping offence. It was alleged the sample – taken nine months before his defeat of Klitschko – contained traces of the banned substance nandrolone.
Fury was provisionally suspended, but that ban has since been lifted, and his legal team said they would be suing Ukad over the allegations.
“Fury is not here right now but maybe he is invisible,” said Klitschko. “But eventually – and I hope so – we will meet in the ring. It’s OK, I can wait. I can wait because I have enough patience. Because I am really looking forward to the revenge.
“I really hope that eventually we will get into the ring. So trust me, even if invisible Fury is here or not, I really just hope this fight is going to happen. Even if it doesn’t happen, I will wait and eventually time will run out for the champion.”
Hennessy was also asked how confident he was that Fury would be cleared in the hearing, and he said: “Very, very confident to say the least. There’ll be a lot of things coming out for sure.”
Fury’s trainer and uncle Peter was present, and he added: “There has been chaos around this fight. We have had hard knocks in life but we can happily say this will go ahead because that is what the judge has ruled and I am so happy we can have the fight.”