Tyson Fury has had his boxing licence suspended hours after vacating his world titles.
Morecambe’s heavyweight champion announced late on Wednesday evening that he was giving up his WBO and WBA belts to focus on his medical treatment and recovery.
On Thursday morning the British Boxing Board of Control then confirmed that Fury’s licence had been “suspended pending further investigation into anti-doping and medical issues”.
Fury recently withdrew from a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko for the second time after being declared “medically unfit” and courted more controversy a fortnight ago after it was reported he had tested positive for cocaine.
On vacating his titles, the 28-year-old said in a statement: “I feel that it is only fair and right and for the good of boxing to keep the titles active and allow the other contenders to fight for the vacant belts that I proudly won and held as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, when I defeated the long-standing champion Wladimir Klitschko.
“I won the titles in the ring and I believe that they should be lost in the ring.
“But I’m unable to defend at this time and I have taken the hard and emotional decision to now officially vacate my treasured world titles and wish the next in-line contenders all the very best as I now enter another big challenge in my life, which I know, like against Klitschko, I will conquer.”
Fury upset the odds by beating Ukrainian great Klitschko in November 2015 in Dusseldorf, also claiming the IBO belt, but he has yet to honour a rematch, twice pulling out.
He recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he had been taking cocaine to help with depression and he will now seek medical care.
Promoter Mick Hennessy, who has guided Fury’s professional career, said: “Tyson will still be the linear world heavyweight champion in everyone’s eyes.
“He beat the most dominant champion in the modern era of boxing on an amazing night in Germany to earn that accolade and that will never change.
“Whilst it’s heartbreaking to see Tyson vacate the world titles that he worked so long and hard for all his life, what’s paramount now is that he receives the medical treatment, along with the love of his family and friends and the support of the boxing world to make a full recovery.”
Trainer and uncle Peter Fury remains confident the man he guided to the summit of his sport will be back.
He said: “Tyson will be back stronger from this and I will make sure, no matter what we have to deal with, Tyson not only comes back but will reclaim what’s rightfully his.
“I’m very proud of my nephew’s achievements.”
Fury’s vacation is likely to expedite confirmation of a fight between Klitschko and IBF champion Anthony Joshua for the newly-vacant titles.