Tyson Fury has given up his WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles to concentrate on recovery with Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua likely to fight for the vacant crowns
Tyson Fury has voluntarily vacated his WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles with immediate effect to focus on his medical treatment and recovery.
Fury recently withdrew from a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko for the second time after being declared medically unfit and courted more controversy after it was reported he had tested positive for cocaine. The British Boxing Board of Control was set to discuss removing Furys licence on Wednesday, which would have led to him being stripped of the belts, but the boxer has beaten them to the punch by vacating them.
The 28-year-old said in a statement: I won the titles in the ring and I believe that they should be lost in the ring but Im 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.
Fury upset the odds by beating the Ukrainian Klitschko in November 2015, also claiming the IBO belt, but he has yet to honour a rematch, twice pulling out.
Fury added: I feel that it is only fair and right and for the good of boxing to keep the titles active and allow the other contenders to fight for the vacant belts that I proudly won and held as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world when I defeated the long-standing champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Fury recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he had been taking cocaine to help with depression and he will now seek medical care.
His promoters, Hennessy Sports, added in a statement: Out of respect for the governing bodies, the sport of boxing and the heavyweight division Tyson has made the difficult decision to vacate the belts. This will also allow him the time and space to fully recover from his present condition without any undue pressure and with the expert medical attention he requires and his close family support.
The move looks set to hand Klitschko and Anthony Joshua the chance to fight for the vacant heavyweight titles.
Negotiations are ongoing between Klitschko and Joshua, with promoter Eddie Hearn hoping to get the fight on in December.