May 1, 2018
May 1, 2018
Tyson Fury undercard

Action Images/Reuters/Tony O'Brien

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TYSON FURY, the man who once had it all but let it slip away, is set to return to the ring for the first time in two-and-a-half years on June 9 and has a clear long-term target in mind.

He wants to start collecting his old belts, and some others if possible, and has sights set on a huge domestic showdown with WBA, IBF and WBO king Anthony Joshua.

“Of course I do (have the ability to beat Joshua),” he told Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (May 1). “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be sat here today. I’d be off in Spain drinking a Sangria. Of course I have the ability. I just think I have too much movement and natural boxing skill to lose to somebody like that. He’s very tough and strong and has a lot of learnt ability but he doesn’t have the natural gift of the sweet science.

“I’m very proud of what he’s done. He’s achieved a lot in the sport and is an inspiration to young people coming through. But hold on to the throne because I’m getting it back.

“He knows who The Mac is. Everyone is heavyweight boxing knows who the real heavyweight champion is. I will prove it with these two bad boys here (his fists).”

Anthony Joshua

Back in November 2015, Fury thought he had the game sussed. He befuddled Wladimir Klitschko for 12 rounds in Germany and dethroned one of the greats of the game – a man who had reigned for over a decade – in a way that had the rest of the division spooked. There were big paydays on the horizon. He could have become the unlikely face of the sport.

But then it all went wrong. He ran into trouble with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), the world learned he’d failed a drug test for nandrolone in February 2015 (he blamed contaminated offal), and then he failed a second test in September 2016, this time for cocaine. As a consequence, Fury was out of the ring for a long time. He also lost everything he’d worked for.

“I think I needed to go sow my royal oats, as they say,” Fury, 25-0 (18), said. “I needed some time out from the sport. That’s what I did. But I’m back now with a vengeance.

“Psychologically, I needed a rest. I’ve been boxing since I was a little boy. To get to 27 years old and have no breaks really, I needed a couple of years rest. I feel fresh now, I feel rejuvenated, and I feel like I’ve got a lot more to offer.

“I just put it all down to experience, to be honest. You live and learn in this life. I’ve found an inner peace, an inner calm. I’m really enjoying it at the moment.”

The 29-year-old added:  “There was a bit of a lightbulb moment. I always thought I’d be able to flip the switch when I needed to but I just didn’t feel I needed to. I had over two years out the ring and I thought I better switch this light switch kind of soon because it’s becoming a long time. Long periods out are never any good. But then I thought when I’m ready, I’ll be ready and I’ll now it deep inside. That day came and I said to my trainer, right, I want to train again.”

Tyson Fury is back. But it remains to be seen what’s left of the enigmatic former heavyweight champion.