Former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury has denied doping allegations as he prepares for his return to the ring.
The 29-year-old spoke to IFL TV (h/t Press Association, for the Daily Mirror) ahead of a ruling from the National Anti-Doping Panel:
"Of all the things I've been called—a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe—I may have been those but the one thing I'm not is a drugs cheat.
"That's the worst a sportsman can be. I will not be forced to admit anything I have not done."
Fury has earned a reputation for making offensive remarks throughout his career. As noted by the Press Association, he "linked homosexuality and abortion to paedophilia" in a 2016 interview.
In 2013, he described two other boxers—David Haye and Tony Bellew—as "gay lovers," and two years later he said he believed the best place for a woman was "in the kitchen and on her back," per the Guardian's Barney Ronay.
Speaking of his return to the ring, he said:
"This time I want to be myself, I don't want to play a character anymore.
"I want the public to see me, the people's champion, the happy-go-lucky Tyson Fury. Not the confident, brash character to sell tickets.
"I feel I have a story to tell, a massive one. The stuff I've been through, depression, mental health problems. It can help and inspire others. From rags to riches to rags again."
He also stated he intends to make another run at the world heavyweight title.
Fury hasn't fought since November 2015, when he shocked Wladimir Klitschko in Germany to win the lineal heavyweight title. A rematch with the Ukrainian fell through, and he has since been stripped of his boxing license and suspended.
Per the report, the UK Anti-Doping agency said he had failed a drugs test in 2016 and imposed a provisional ban, which has since been lifted. The panel's independent review will move ahead in December.
While the outspoken Fury hasn't fought in two years, he has never really left the spotlight. He's taken frequent shots at compatriot Anthony Joshua, the current WBA, IBF and IBO champion, in what appears to be an attempt to hype a potential fight between the two:
@anthonyfjoshua @LennoxLewis @frankbrunoboxer @SkySportsBoxing @BTSportBoxing @HBOboxing @ShowtimeBoxing https://t.co/cYpYtYh23H2017-10-31 12:27:24
He hasn't limited himself to Joshua, either:
If @TonyBellew takes this fight I'll have just over 5 months to shed 6 stone & then fight, can I do it & still fight good, would be hard2017-11-20 17:19:32
Tony Bellew―who is without an opponent now that David Haye has dropped out of their scheduled rematch―has responded in kind, frequently targeting Fury's weight:
Tony Bellew @TonyBellew
@Tyson_Fury Mate strictly between us, don’t you think you’ve eaten enough? 🤔🙈2017-11-28 19:19:54
He has signed with management firm MTK Global and has been posting plenty of clips of sparring sessions on social media of late, as well as workouts with former light-welterweight star and trainer Ricky Hatton.