I'm sure most of the boxing community has already seen the news of Tyson Fury getting a backdated two-year suspension by the UKAD and now are thinking that he is now fully cleared to box again.
Well, not exactly.
Although the Tyson Fury-UKAD saga appears to be over after an announcement made that he and his cousin Hughie have been handed two-year suspensions that dates back to 2015, this doesn't mean the former heavyweight champion will be boxing again in early 2018.
Tyson had been failing drug tests in 2015 and 2016 for various substances, putting his boxing career in jeopardy. Tyson ended Wladimir Klitschko's decade-long reign as the unified world heavyweight champion in 2015, but hasn't fought since then. Due to the suspension, the always-unpredictable Fury announced his retirement from the sport twice but in both cases, Tyson said he will fight again, goading current unified champion Anthony Joshua into fighting him and with this announcement, a fight against Joshua is now entirely possible. But before we see Tyson back in the ring, there are still a couple of factors that still need to be resolved.
The UKAD released a statement regarding the matter, saying both Tyson and Hughie have accepted the organization's decision.
“Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury have agreed to resolve the proceedings by UKAD against Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury based on the reported presence of elevated levels on nandrolone metabolites in urine samples that they provided after their respective fights in February 2015; and against Tyson Fury 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.”
The UKAD’s full resolution, which was released shortly after news dropped that both Tyson and Hughie finished up their retroactive suspensions, mentions how and why the suspensions started back in February.
“Given that both Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury have served periods of provisional suspension since the notices of charge were served, Tyson Fury from 24 June 2016 to 3 August 2016 (when the NADP President issued an order lifting the provisional suspension), and again from 16 September 2016 to date, and Hughie Fury from 24 June 2016 to 3 August 2016 (when the NADP President issued an order lifting the provisional suspension) and effectively thereafter until 1 February 2017, and given further the delays in results management that are not attributable to the Respondents, the period of ineligibility will be back-dated to start from 13 December 2015, in accordance with UK ADR Article 10.11, so that it ends at midnight on 12 December 2017.”
As for some of the other minor punishments during this time period, both Tyson and Hughie’s will have the results and titles stemming from their February 2015 fights have been disqualified. Tyson’s fight against Christian Hammer, of which Fury won via eighth-round stoppage, is now thrown out the window. Because Fury’s WBO International heavyweight title was defended, that title reign ends with that fight. Hughie's fight against Andriy Rudenko, in which Hughie won via unanimous decision, will now be scratched off the record books.
There's still no timetable for when Tyson will box again. In Tyson's case, he would still need to get a boxing license approved by the British Boxing Board of Control before he could start fighting again. The BBBofC has said that it has accepted the UKAD’s resolution, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the organization will immediately grant him a boxing license.
According to BBBofC's Robert Smith, Tyson is still suspended from their end, but will take the UKAD's ruling into consideration in regards to what will be the next step in possibly reinstating him.
The BBBofC has been highly dubious of whether or not Fury can stay out of drug trouble if he were to be reinstated. Fury’s physical condition has been incredibly inconsistent since last year, even ballooning all the way to more than 300 pounds. There’s also the main issue of whether or not the BBBofC would impose any special conditions in addition to reinstating him. It’s possible that the BBBofC would ask Fury to be at a good enough weight before giving Fury a license. We should know the status of Tyson’s license at the BBBofC hearing that will be conducted in January.
Now let’s assume Fury will be good to go next summer, a fair assumption given Fury will need time to get back into ring shape as well as take a couple of months to find an opponent and market his return. A good opponent for Tyson would be someone like Dillian Whyte, who is the current WBC Silver heavyweight championship. This also lines up perfectly for a potential Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua/Deontay Wilder fight for 2019. Tyson Fury will not only need to shake off the ring rust, but also work his way back to title contention, meaning a fight with either Joshua or Wilder in 2018 is highly unlikely. What isn’t unlikely is a Joshua vs. Wilder unification fight taking place in 2018. The winner of that fight will at least hold the WBA, IBF and WBC titles, giving the heavyweight division its Tyson Fury superfight in 2019.
Another way for Fury to get back into world title contention is for Fury to actually challenge for the WBA “regular” heavyweight title. Regardless as to who the champion will be heading into the second half of 2018, either Manuel Charr or Fres Oquendo, Tyson will be a heavy favorite if he were to get back in shape. Winning the WBA “regular” title would put Tyson in the driver’s seat to challenge for the “super” title, currently held by Joshua, as the governing body is on a mission to only have one WBA world champion per weight class.
Or perhaps Fury would even take a relatively easy opponent such as Dereck Chisora. Fury has already beaten Chisora twice and a third win would definitely be the type of fight to not only boost his confidence, but also shake off the ring rust. Even a Fury vs. Chisora fight would be a decently big deal in the U.K. as it is Tyson Fury and he remains an extremely polarizing athlete, one would have people flocking over to watch his fight, regardless of the opponent.
But at the moment, all of this seems like fantasy, given that it is no guarantee that the BBBofC will be as seemingly lenient to Tyson as the UKAD. They have been more critical of Fury's lack of discipline with his body, but at the same time, it's somewhat unlikely that they'll give him a major suspension that he'll have to serve. Expect to have Fury back in the ring sometime in 2018, giving the heavyweight division yet another big name for fans to watch. The heavyweight division is starting to become one of the premier divisions in the sport again and with Tyson Fury back, it will only get better.