Tyson Fury has formally vacated his two heavyweight titles as he seeks treatment for drug and medical issues.
Fury was due to be stripped of both the WBA and WBO championships after testing positive for cocaine and twice pulling out of rematches with Wladimir Klitschko.
But the 28-year-old has voluntarily given up the belts after admitting taking cocaine to deal with depression.
“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 and wish the next in-line contenders all the very best as I now enter another big challenge in my life which I know, like against Klitschko, I will conquer,” said Fury in a statement.
Fury’s decision paves the way for fellow British fighter, Anthony Joshua, to face Klitschko in a title unification bout in December.
Joshua is already the IBF heavyweight champion, with promoter Eddie Hearn admitting the clash – likely to be held in the UK – is on the verge of being finalised.
“It is exciting, it is the biggest heavyweight fight in the last 10 years. I want to get it over the line,” Hearn told the BBC.