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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Return of Tyson Fury 

by Eddie Goldman

As I predicted, a face-saving compromise was reached between UK Anti-Doping and the heavyweight fighters Tyson Fury and his cousin Hughie Fury, allowing Tyson to resume his career and Hughie to continue fighting.

They each received a two-year backdated ban for doping, which ended midnight on December 12, 2017, while maintaining their innocence of intentional doping stemming from a positive test for the steroid nandrolone in February 2015. The deal also withdraws the charge that Tyson threw their drug testers out and refused a test in September 2016, with some doubletalk explanation, which is really part of this whole compromise.

Both are free to fight immediately, although Tyson still is massively overweight and out of shape, somewhere north of 300 pounds. But it is expected that Tyson will be re-licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control shortly, since the BBBoC also approved this deal.

No explanation was given as to why it took UK Anti-Doping so long to resolve this case, and why a charge of doping from February 2015 led to no action until June 2016, when the fighters were temporarily suspended. It looks like a combination of incompetence and pandering to the fighters played a role in these delays. The UK Anti-Doping statement also makes no mention of Tyson's positive tests for cocaine, which were conducted by a real anti-doping body, VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

Note also that this same UK Anti-Doping was brought in by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, to help the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) get back to a status of compliance with world and Olympic doping rules. I guess that Bozo the Clown was too busy and couldn't also "help" out.

But this deal does seem to close this ugly chapter. It not only lets Tyson resume a regular schedule for boxing and Hughie continue without any ban, but also removes the threat of a lawsuit by these fighters against UK Anti-Doping for screwing them around for so long.

Tyson Fury wasted no time after this deal was announced, taking to Twitter, with a pinned tweet, challenging heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. A fight between these two undefeated fighters, each of whom defeated Wladimir Klitschko, would no doubt be the biggest heavyweight fight of 2018 and in many years.

The full decision of UK Anti-Doping can be read here.

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