LONDON - 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.
“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.