Controversial former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury vowed Tuesday to put the “nightmare of the last two years” behind him and reclaim his world titles after being cleared to resume his career.
The British boxer agreed a compromise with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) over his positive test for the banned steroid nandrolone, which has resulted in a two-year ban that has been backdated to December 2015.
The 29-year-old has been given the go-ahead to fight again immediately, subject to receiving a licence.
Fury, who has not fought since his shock win against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to become the undisputed heavyweight world champion, said he was looking forward to getting back into the ring.
“I’m a fighting man through and through and I’ve never backed down from anyone in my life and I was certainly not going to back down from fighting this dispute,” he said.
He had been charged along with his cousin Hughie, who also failed a test for nandrolone in February 2015.
“Hughie and I have maintained our innocence from day one and we’re now happy that it has finally been settled with UKAD and that we can move forward knowing that we’ll not be labelled drug cheats,” added Tyson Fury.
@anthonyfjoshua where you at boy? I’m coming for you punk ent no1 blocking my path now!👊🏻
— TYSON2FASTFURY (@Tyson_Fury) December 12, 2017
“I can now put the nightmare of the last two years behind me… Next year I will be back doing what I do best, better than ever and ready to reclaim the world titles which are rightfully mine.”
Fury immediately laid down a challenge to compatriot Anthony Joshua, who successfully defended his IBF and WBA titles against Carlos Takam in October.
Fury tweeted: “@anthonyfjoshua where you at boy? I’m coming for you punk ent no1 blocking my path now!”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has said he wants to see his fighter take on Fury in an all-British showdown next year.
The Furys were not charged by UKAD until June 2016, by which time Tyson Fury had beaten Klitschko.
Four months later, the British Boxing Board of Control suspended his licence after he had given up his world titles to focus on recovering from mental health problems.
Both Hughie and Tyson Fury have strongly denied the nandrolone charges, saying the positive tests were a result of eating wild boar that had not been castrated.
Tyson Fury also failed a test for cocaine in September 2016 and later admitted using the recreational drug to deal with depression related to his injury and UKAD problems.
As part of the compromise deal, UKAD withdrew a charge against Tyson Fury of failure to provide a sample in September 2016.
“The anti-doping rule violations based on the reported presence of elevated levels of nandrolone metabolites are upheld, the refusal charge is withdrawn, Hughie and Tyson Fury each receive a two-year period of ineligibility,” the UKAD statement said.
“The two-year period of ineligibility is backdated to 13 December 2015, and therefore expires at midnight on 12 December 2017,” it added.
UKAD added that the two fighters’ results from February 2015 had been disqualified, but that later results, including Fury’s victory over Klitschko, would stand.
Full statement from UKAD and Tyson Fury which declares he is CLEARED to box again from tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/UGDacfnSXB
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) December 12, 2017
We take a look at five of the best pound for pound fighters in the boxing world at the moment.
Crawford cleaned out the 140lbs division, unifying four major world titles before moving up to 147lbs. He battered Julius Indongo over three rounds, has looked exceptional in every fight and while he requires a career-defining win, his record of 32-0 speaks for itself.
Based on skills, there is no better boxer in the world right now. The Ukrainian‘s footwork is unmatched but to be P4P, a bigger body of work is required. Rigondeaux was a huge scalp but the Cuban was stepping up two divisions and was the smaller man.
Many thought he beat Canelo Alvarez in September but the reality is it ended in a draw. He’s not quite looked like the rampaging middleweight of the last nine years and he needed a clear-cut win over a fellow P4P contender to secure top spot. That didn’t happen.
Arguably the only man with the skills to match Lomachenko, Garcia has returned to the conversation after successfully moving up to 140lbs to dominate Adrien Broner. Garcia is at the peak of his powers and is open to fights from 135lbs to 147lbs.
He didn’t get beat by Triple G and, given most in the P4P debate haven’t fought another member of the top-five, it’s hard to ignore the Mexican. Canelo is one of the most complete fighters on the planet and can claim top spot if he overthrows Golovkin in a rematch.
Vasyl Lomachenko dismantled the most decorated amateur boxer – aside from himself – and then made Guillermo Rigondeaux quit. And he barely broke sweat in the process. Lomachenko has an extremely high ceiling and with a fourth straight retirement of his opponent to retain the WBO super-featherweight title, he has a new nickname, too – No Mas Chenko. ‘No mas’ means no more in Spanish.
The Cuban claimed a fractured hand sustained in the second round forced him to quit at the end of the sixth but in reality it was a broken ego. The 37-year-old had the life sucked out of him and his legacy has likely lost legs as well. Rigondeaux has long lamented the lack of respect and big fight opportunities he receives but when the occasion finally came around, his most effective offensive output was fouling.
Lomachenko’s elite skills, elevated ring IQ and signature footwork have cemented his place among the top-three pound-for pound and there is simply no doubting his credentials. Still, this wasn’t a victory to secure top spot, even the 29-year old recognises that.
“This is not his weight so it’s not a big win for me,” said Lomachenko, who won gold medals at the Beijing and London Olympics. “But he’s a good fighter, he’s got great skills. I adjusted to his style, low blows and all. “He’s a king in boxing, but he’s a king in his weight category. This is not his size; it’s not his weight.” There is no need for a hard sell with Lomachenko, his skills are enough to pay the bills.
Rigondeaux was utterly baffled when his usual defensive manoeuvres were foiled by the champion’s desire to continue fighting at all times. There was no rest when Rigondeaux slipped into his defensive postures as Lomachenko used his otherworldly footwork to find the gaps – the highlight a perfect pirouette as the Cuban ducked down.
The previously unbeaten challenger had no answer and in the end, he wanted no more. “He is a technical fighter. Very quick and very explosive,” Rigondeaux said of Lomachenko before adding: “I lost, but it was because of my hand. In the second round I injured the top of my hand and I could no longer continue.” When you consider Miguel Cotto fought to 12 rounds with a torn bicep last week, you can’t shake the impression Rigondeaux simply gave up.
Lomachenko landed 55 punches overall and Rigondeaux just 15 – less than three punches in any round, according to CompuBox. The gulf in class was less to do with the difference in size, the Ukrainian was just steps head, winning every round but the first. He is intimidating but not with the power of his punch but the skill of it as fighters quit in bewilderment rather than pain.
“He says I don’t have no power, I don’t have no punch – but how can I have no power if he says ‘no mas’,” Lomachenko said. What’s next for Lomachenko is far from clear. Mikey Garcia represents a tantalising technical tussle but his bitter lawsuit with the Ukrainian’s promoter Top Rank makes that bout unlikely.
“I need a rest, maybe one month, and then I’ll prepare for my next fight,” Lomachenko added. Whoever throws their name into the ring faces the prospect of having the towel thrown in after, such is the ability of Lomachenko to shut down, shut out and sit down his opponents.