Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury is aiming to win back his world heavyweight titles

Never one to miss an opportunity to set social media abuzz, former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury took to Twitter last night (6 March) to reveal that he was set to make his long-awaited return to boxing on 13 May against an as of yet unnamed opponent.

If such a statement rings true (and he certainly has form for leading the media on these merry dances) then the controversial 28-year-old will be stepping back into the ring for the first time since stunning Wladimir Klitschko on points in Dusseldorf in November 2015 in a bout that has gone down in the annals as one of the biggest shocks in the sport's long history.

A rematch was quickly sought, with Fury deprived of his IBF belt as a result of those negotiations. A sprained ankle sustained during training put paid to an initial July 2016 bout, while the rearranged October contest was also called off after the champion was declared "medically unfit to fight".

Fury, who tested positive for benzoylecgonine and also performed a U-turn on claims that he had retired, later vacated his WBA (Super), WBO and IBO titles amid rumours that he would be stripped. He also opened up regarding his ongoing battle with manic depression while admitting during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that he had previously used cocaine.

Here, IBTimes UK takes a look at the issues that could stand in the way of a potential return to action...


License situation

Just one day after Fury vacated those belts in order to focus upon his recovery, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) temporarily suspended his license "pending further investigation into anti-doping and medical issues". This would obviously need to be rectified in order for him to fight again in the United Kingdom, unless he were to obtain a license from an overseas federation as has been done by others in the past.

"No, Tyson Fury is suspended," BBBoC general secretary Robert Smith told talkSPORT earlier on Tuesday when asked if he will be allowed back in May. "Tyson Fury has a lot of issues he needs to deal with before he even thinks about getting in the ring properly. He has anti-doping issues and other medical issues which all have to be considered.

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury has not fought since dethroning Wladimir Klitschko with a flawless tactical performance in November 2015 AFP

"But as we sit here today, Tyson Fury is suspended. We haven't had any contact with him since he was suspended. I would expect if he's looking to box shortly, he will need to contact us. He hasn't done so and therefore nothing has changed. He's not in the position to box. What we're more concerned about is that he looks after himself and gets himself in a fit and proper state of mind to carry on with his career, if he does."

UK Anti-Doping hearing

Fury, along with younger cousin and fellow heavyweight boxer Hughie, was charged by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) on 24 June with the "presence of a prohibited substance". Ukad's official statement came after The Sunday Mirror claimed that it had been alleged that traces of banned anabolic steroid nandrolone had been found in a urine sample taken in February 2015.

Both Tyson and Hughie strenuously deny taking any performance-enhancing drugs and Team Fury's legal team threatened to sue and revealed last August that they had issued proceedings in the High Court. The Independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) subsequently lifted their provisional suspensions "pending full determination of the charges".

A hearing was supposed to take place in November 2016.

Inactivity/rankings slide

Fury followed up his comeback announcement by stressing that he would be "taking on all bums".

"Keep my belts warm guys as they belong to the king," he added. "Whoever's got my belts, I'm coming for you. Big or small."

Tony Bellew
Could Tony Bellew fight Tyson Fury? Getty

The Mancunian has since asked his 542,000 followers if they would like to see him in a summer bout against WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew, who recently stepped up a division and shocked an injured David Haye to pick up the biggest win of his career. He also offered 'Bomber' and WBC heavyweight king Deontay Wilder the chance to win his Ring Magazine strap.

Even if all the other hurdles are successfully cleared, it remains to be seen what sort of shape Fury is in after 15 months without a fight. He is no longer listed in the top 10 of any governing body's current heavyweight rankings, although you would imagine that would change very quickly with a first tune-up win. He seems unlikely to be in a position to compete for titles straightaway, however.