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Christian boxer Tyson Fury gives up titles

by Hannah Tooley

Tyson Fury has given up his WBO and WBA world heavyweight boxing titles as he undergoes medical treatment and recovery.

The controversial believer, who has been criticised by some for his comments about homosexuality, has twice pulled out of rematches with Wladimir Klitschko.

He now faces losing his licence and a boxing ban after admitting to taking cocaine to help deal with his depression in a Rolling Stone magazine interview.

He has pre-empted punishment from the British Boxing Board of Control by announcing his vacation.

His decision to voluntarily give up the titles means a fight is now expected between Wladimir Klitschko and British Olympic boxing champion Anthony Joshua.

Mr Fury has not fought since claiming his belts by stunning Klitschko in Germany in November 2015 and recently pulled out of rematches after being declared "medically unfit".

Speaking in a statement he said: "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.

"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."

His team says giving up the titles will give him space needed to recover fully.

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