Former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has compared himself to Muhammad Ali as he believes he too, like Ali, is being persecuted and kept out of boxing because of politics.
Fury was the former unified champion as he held the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles following his massive upset win over the dominant Wladimir Klitschko back in November 2015.
However, the 29-year-old was stripped of his titles in 2016 and had his boxing licence revoked over a failed drug test and his admission to using cocaine.
After multiple "retirements", Fury decided he would make a comeback in boxing and is training once again, looking to shed the weight he gained over the past year.
However, a realistic return to boxing hinges on his UK Anti-Doping body hearing. After multiple delays, the hearing has been now set for this month, and the "Gypsy King" has likened his absence from the sport to that of Ali's.
Ali was stripped of his boxing license and titles for his refusing to enlist in the US military during the Vietnam War. As a result, the boxing legend was out of the sport for nearly four years.
"I am being kept out of the ring by political stuff — they did the same to Muhammad Ali," Fury said on Periscope. "Two years [I've been] out of the ring. They kept Ali out for three years and seven months.
"It didn't affect him. He went down as the greatest."
It is not the first time Fury has referenced Ali. He has long compared himself to Ali in terms of boxing style and recently alluded to in November that he would emulate him in a potential 2018 fight with current champion Anthony Joshua.
"To beat someone [Joshua] with those attributes it would be hard but someone of my ability can move, box, and twist, and all I would have to do is make him miss a bit," Fury said. "As we saw against Wladimir [Klitschko], he blew a gasket trying to land his punches.
"You just have to go back to [Muhammad] Ali and [George] Foreman – the big puncher against the big mover. I think boxing, especially heavyweight, is a chess match. More of a brains match rather than who is the strongest or quickest."