Fury free to fight again

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury is free to resume his career, subject to regaining his boxing licence, after accepting a backdated two-year ban from UK Anti-Doping.

The ban ends on December 12 so Fury, and his cousin Hughie Fury, are able to fight again if they receive a renewed licence.

Fury was charged with testing positive for a "prohibited substance" in June 2016 but claimed that was as a result of eating a wild boar.

A statement read: "UKAD, Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury have agreed to resolve the proceedings brought by UKAD (1) against Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury based on the reported presence of elevated levels of nandrolone metabolites in urine samples that they provided after their respective fights in February 2015; and (2) against Tyson Fury based on his alleged failure to provide a sample in September 2016.

"UKAD's position is that the anti-doping rule violations it has asserted have been committed and the consequences set out in the UK Anti-Doping Rules should apply. Tyson and Hughie Fury's position is that they have never knowingly or deliberately committed any anti-doping rule violation. ‎In recognition of the respective counter-arguments and the risks inherent in the dispute resolution process, each side has accepted a compromise of its position.

"Taking into account the delays in results management that meant charges were not brought in respect of the nandrolone findings until June 2016, and the provisional suspensions that Tyson and Hughie Fury have already effectively served, the two year period of ineligibility is backdated to 13 December 2015, and therefore expires at midnight on 12 December 2017.

"The British Boxing Board of Control has also agreed to the resolution of these proceedings on this basis."

Fury said: "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.

"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. I can now put the nightmare of the last two years behind me."

The 16-month delay between Fury testing positive and being charged was crucial to his legal defence, UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead told Sky Sports. A crucial part of the Furys' legal mitigation was that they were not initially informed that they might be banned, she said.

The lengthy delay was because nandrolone, which Fury tested positive for, is a naturally occurring substance so UKAD waited to discover if it was in his system artificially. Fury's missed test in September 2016 was settled as part of Tuesday's compromise.

The unbeaten 29-year-old has not fought since ending Wladimir Klitschko's reign as world heavyweight champion two years ago. This result is not at risk because "no adverse" findings were discovered in any of his seven drug tests after February 2015, according to UKAD.

A renewed licence is now in the hands of the BBBofC, whose general secretary Robert Smith told Sky Sports last month: "It is publicly known that Mr Fury has a number of health issues and we would have to look at that."

Smith added after the ruling on Tuesday: "His licence is suspended with the Board but we will take into consideration what has happened [with the UKAD hearing]. We will consider the next step and let Mr Fury know."

Fury has already shed three stone of weight, according to Ricky Hatton who welcomed the heavyweight into his gym recently, and he is eyeing prospective opponents for his comeback.

Fury sent a warning to Anthony Joshua via Twitter within moments of UKAD's ruling on Tuesday about a potential collision that promoter Eddie Hearn has labelled "the biggest fight British boxing history has ever seen".

Hearn said: "That is a fight that can be built into something huge. Two completely different characters, two completely different styles, two undefeated heavyweights, two unified champions. An incredible match-up."

Tony Bellew, who must first rematch David Haye on May 5, is also an option for Fury and the pair have exchanged words in the past week.

"I'm a bad man, I'm a pretty hard character to beat in the ring, and my unorthodox approach comes as a bit of a shock to everybody," Fury said on Soccer PM. "I'm anything but textbook.

"Bellew? I'm quaking in my boots. I don't know what weight division he is, light-heavyweight, cruiserweight, heavyweight, what is he?"

Bellew recently revealed a phone call with Fury, telling Sky Sports: "A brilliant fighter, but I definitely reckon the way things have gone and the way the land lies at the moment, I definitely reckon I can beat him."