The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) has confirmed its decision to suspend Tyson Fury's license "pending further investigation into anti-doping and medical issues". The announcement comes just 12 hours after the outspoken heavyweight voluntarily vacated his WBO, WBA and IBO titles in order to keep them active as he focuses fully upon his treatment and recovery from mental health problems.
"Realistically it was to be expected," promoter Mick Hennessy told BBC Radio 5 Live. "The BBBofC need to help Tyson, not put any more problems his way. They should realise what he has achieved and what he has been through. He doesn't need anyone firing any more arrows his way.
"He's been suspended temporarily, obviously he has to prove that he is fit to box. I expect the board and the boxing world to start getting behind Tyson Fury. Since he won the title he has been treated appallingly."
Fury, who still faces the possibility of having his license revoked, stunned the boxing world in November 2015 when he produced a flawless tactical performance to outpoint and dethrone Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, but was quickly stripped of his IBF strap after refusing to meet Vyacheslav Glazkov. A contracted rematch with Klitschko was the reason for him failing to fight the mandatory challenger, although that second meeting was initially postponed after the 28-year-old sprained his ankle during training.
The bout was then rescheduled for 29 October at the Manchester Arena, only to be called off for the second time last month when the champion was declared "medically unfit to fight".
It was subsequently revealed by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada) that Fury had tested positive for benzoylecgonine. He later tricked many into believing that he had retired on Twitter before giving an unflinching interview to Rolling Stone in which he admitted to having taken "lots" of cocaine in his life and confirmed that he had been going through depression.
Fury was also charged with a doping offence by the UK-Anti Doping Agency (Ukad) over the summer after it was reported by The Mirror that traces of banned anabolic steroid nandrolone had allegedly been discovered in a sample taken in early 2015. His provisional June suspension was later lifted on appeal pending a hearing with the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP). The Manchester-born boxer and younger cousin Hughie, who was also charged, both strenuously deny taking performance-enhancing drugs. His legal team later confirmed that they had issued high court proceedings against the allegations.
Fury's decision to vacate is likely to expedite confirmation that current IBF title-holder Anthony Joshua will face Klitschko in London later this year in a bid to add the WBA and WBO gold to his collection. Promoter Eddie Hearn recently refuted David Haye's suggestion that the fight was a done deal, although insisted that they were "very close" and "very hopeful". He also affirmed that 10 December was a potential date under consideration.