Tyson Fury faces being stripped of his licence at a meeting of the British Boxing Board of Control on Wednesday.
Fury’s case will be discussed by officials after a reported failed drugs test in the United States and his admission in Rolling Stone magazine that he has “done lots of cocaine”.
And a ban is likely to expedite confirmation of a fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua for the newly-vacant world heavyweight titles.
Fury pulled out of a scheduled world heavyweight title rematch against Klitschko later this month with his team insisting he is medically unfit to fight due to mental health concerns.
And if the Board do decide to strip Fury of his licence it is almost certain he will also be forced to relinquish the WBO and WBA versions of the title he won from Klitschko last year.
Tyson Fury deserves sympathy and support not abhorrent abuse.
The WBO has already given the 28-year-old a 10-day deadline to declare his future plans, and a ban would make his position as champion untenable.
Klitschko is instead set to sign a deal to face IBF champion Joshua for all three belts, with the bout expected to confirmed next week for December 10.
Former champion David Haye believes it is already a done deal, tweeting on Tuesday: “Great to hear Joshua-Klitschko is done. Timing is everything & the time is now perfect for AJ. Reminds me of Ali Vs Berbick”.
But the projected contest between Klitschko and Joshua is unlikely to be officially confirmed before Fury’s position is fully clarified.
Ricky Hatton had his licence taken away by the Board in 2010 following widespread allegations about the use of cocaine. It was returned two years later following a personal hearing.
Fury will hope to convince the sanctioning bodies to declare him ‘champion in recess’ – which would allow him to challenge for the titles in the event he returns to the sport.
But his situation is complicated by his reported failed drugs test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) in the United States earlier this month.
VADA have refused to make their findings public, and UK Anti-Doping – which is yet to rule on a separate doping issue regarding Fury – has stressed cocaine is not on its own list of banned substances in out-of-competition testing.
Both Joshua and the reigning WBC champion, Deontay Wilder, have offered their support to Fury, saying they hope he will soon be fit enough to return to the sport.
Joshua said: “Tyson is a fighting man, a real talent and he is good for boxing in his own way. I really hope to see him getting back to what he does best.”