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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021

Former World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury confirms comeback fight in June

The Gypsy King is back in the ring for the first time since dethroning Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

FORMER WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT champion Tyson Fury will return to the ring after a two-and-a-half-year absence on 9 June in Manchester, with an opponent to be announced in the coming weeks.

It was confirmed at a press conference this afternoon that Fury, 29, has inked a deal which will see him fight under Frank Warren’s promotional banner on both BT Sport and BoxNation.

The undefeated former unified champion has been out of the ring since outclassing the long-reigning Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, Germany in November 2015.

Fury tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone the previous February, but wasn’t charged by the UK Anti-Doping Agency until June of 2016 – some 16 months later.

The self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ insisted he “never knowingly or deliberately committed a violation”, but following a drawn-out process accepted a backdated two-year ban at the end of last year, meaning he’s free to fight again this coming June.

Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko for the World heavyweight title in 2015 Source: DPA/PA Images

Fury has also struggled with chronic mental health problems and, as a result, recreational drug abuse during his time away from the ring: in a revelatory October 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Fury – then the reigning World heavyweight champ – admitted he had been on a four-month cocaine binge, adding: “I’m a manic depressive. I just hope someone kills me before I kill myself.”

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The former BUI Irish champion turned things around somewhat last year, however, and despite a couple of ‘retirements’, returned to the gym in November in an attempt to shed some of the excess mass he had cultivated during his substance-fueled sabbatical.

He’s now based in Ricky Hatton’s gym in Manchester under a new trainer – the 25-year-old Ben Davison – after parting ways with his previous coach and uncle, Peter Fury.

By January, Fury had reportedly lost close to four stone in weight, and plenty more has fallen off since as evidenced by a picture uploaded to Instagram by ‘The Hitman’ earlier this week.

Untitled A slimmed-down Tyson Fury alongside Ricky Hatton (R) and Hatton's son, Campbell

Fury had become increasingly vocal about a prospective ring return in recent months, and further clamour for his comeback arrived following Anthony Joshua’s laborious win over New Zealand’s Joseph Parker on 31 March; Fury’s own assessment was that the pair’s unification clash was a “shit fight, and a shit performance by both fighters.”

Following his Cardiff victory, Joshua holds the same belts (WBA, IBF, WBO) as Fury did when he upset Klitschko almost three years ago.

An all-British World heavyweight title showdown remains the chief target for both, but Fury will likely face a variety of warm-up opponents – including American Shannon Briggs – before attempting to reclaim the crown he never lost in the ring.

Joshua, meanwhile, seems likely to face at least Alexander Povetkin and WBC champion Deontay Wilder before a guaranteed Wembley sell-out with Fury comes to fruition.

‘Sh** fight, sh** performance by both fighters’: Fury and Wilder stick the knife in Joshua

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