Fury says 'nightmare' over after UKAD clears him to return to ring
LONDON (Reuters) - Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said he was glad the "nightmare" was behind him as he was cleared to resume his boxing career after agreeing a two-year backdated ban for an anti-doping violation on Tuesday.
UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) said in a statement that Fury, who was charged with the offense in June 2016 after testing positive for a banned steroid in February 2015, would complete his ban at midnight on Tuesday.
Fury, whose last fight was two years ago when he beat Wladimir Klitschko to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, blamed the failed test on eating uncastrated wild boar.
UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control said Fury is free to fight again once he regains his boxing license.
A second charge against Fury over his "alleged failure to provide a sample in September 2016" has been withdrawn.
Fury's cousin Hughie, also a heavyweight, reached a similar agreement after he also tested positive in February 2015.
The 29-year-old Tyson, who has a 25-0 record, issued a statement saying he would reclaim the title.
"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.
"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 labeled drug cheats.
"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. It's time to get the party started."
Fury vacated his titles and his boxing license was suspended in October 2016 pending investigation after he admitted to consuming cocaine and dealing with mental health issues.
UKAD said in a statement that a compromise had been reached.
"In recognition of the retrospective counter-arguments and the risks inherent in the dispute resolution process, each side has accepted a compromise of its position," UKAD said.
"The proceedings have therefore been resolved on the following basis: the anti-doping rule violations based on the reported presence of elevated levels of nandrolone metabolites are upheld."
While a controversial figure, Fury's return and a possible title fight with British world champion Anthony Joshua would be a mouthwatering prospect for the division.
Joshua defended his world titles in October, while the other two world belts are held by American Deontay Wilder and New Zealand's Joseph Parker.
Fury was quick to take to Twitter on Tuesday calling out his fellow Briton. "Where you at boy? I'm coming for you punk," he said.
(Writing by Martyn Herman and Simon Jennings; Editing by Toby Davis)
© Copyright Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved. The information contained in this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of Reuters Ltd.