Tyson Fury vacates WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles to continue 'medical treatment and recovery'

Fury has relinquished his world heavyweight titles with the British Boxing Board of Control expected to strip him of his boxing licence on Thursday

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Tyson Fury has vacated his WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles in order to continue his “medical treatment and recovery” after revealing he is struggling with depression.

Fury confirmed last month that he has taken cocaine and is drinking every day after calling off his scheduled rematch with former champion Wladimir Klitschko for a second time. It’s alleged that Fury tested positive for cocaine in a drug test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association [Vada] but as Vada will not disclose the information, this has not been confirmed.

Having not fought since November 2015 when he famously beat Klitschko to win the titles – along with the IBF crown that he was stripped of immediately for failing to meet their mandatory defence terms – Fury has vacated the WBO and WBA titles which are now expected to be put on the line in a bout between Klitschko and Anthony Joshua, the current IBF world champion.

In a statement released by his promoter, Hennessy Sports, Fury said: "I now enter another big challenge in my life which I know, like against Klitschko, I will conquer.

"I feel that it is only fair and right and for the good of boxing to keep the titles active.

He added: "I won the titles in the ring and I believe that they should be lost in the ring, but I'm unable to defend at this time and I have taken the hard and emotional decision to now officially vacate my treasured world titles."

The British Boxing Board of Control met on Wednesday to discuss Fury’s case and consider stripping him of his boxing licence, with a decision expected to be announced on Thursday. Both the WBO and WBA have already said that Fury could be stripped of his titles if he lost his licence, but Fury has taken the decision himself to step down as world heavyweight champion.

Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessy, said the news was “heartbreaking”, but added that the time away from the sport will allow Fury to get “the medical treatment along with the love of his family and friends and the support of the boxing world to make a full recovery.”

 


He added:  “Tyson will still be the linear World Heavyweight Champion in everyones’ eyes. He beat the most dominant champion in the modern era of boxing on an amazing night in Germany to earn that accolade and that will never change.”

Fury’s uncle and trainer, Peter Fury, backed his nephew to make a full comeback in the ring and go on to regain his titles.

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Fury revealed he has been taking cocaine in an interview last month (Getty)

“Tyson will be back stronger from this and I will make sure, no matter what we have to deal with, Tyson not only comes back but will reclaim what’s rightfully his,” Peter Fury said. “I’m very proud of my nephew’s achievements.”

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Anthony Joshua is the current IBF heavyweight world champion (Getty)

Joshua is pencilled in for his next defence of his IBF title in Manchester Arena on 26 November, and it is expected that his opponent will be confirmed as the former world champion Klitschko, with an announcement expected to be made in the coming days once the BBBoC have made their decision over Fury’s status.

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