TYSON FURY has announced he has voluntarily vacated his WBO and WBA world titles with immediate effect to fully focus on his medical treatment and recovery.

The troubled boxer 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.

The announcement of Fury’s vacation is likely to expedite confirmation of a fight between Klitschko and Anthony Joshua for the newly-vacant titles. Promoter Eddie Hearn has previously said a Joshua-Klitschko fight would only become a real possibility if there is another belt on the line.

The British Boxing Board of Control were set to discuss removing Fury’s license on Wednesday, which would have seen him stripped of the belts, but the boxer has beaten them to the punch by vacating them voluntarily.

The 28-year-old said in a statement: ‘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 the Ukrainian Klitschko in November 2015, also claiming the IBO belt, but he has yet to honour a rematch, twice pulling out.

Fury added: ‘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.

Fury recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he had been taking cocaine to help with depression and he will now seek medical care.

Mick Hennessy, Tyson’s promoter from the start of his professional career, said: ‘Tyson will still be the linear World Heavyweight Champion in everyones’ 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.’

Negotiations are ongoing between Klitschko and Joshua, with promoter Eddie Hearn hoping to get the fight on in December.

The news had been expected on the day when he faced being stripped of his licence at a meeting of the British Boxing Board of Control, with the WBO and WBA having previously said Fury could lose his titles because of inactivity.

Peter Fury, Tyson’s uncle and trainer, added: ‘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.’

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