Tyson Fury thanked by Billy Joe Saunders for putting him "back on right track"

Tyson Fury (left) and Billy Joe Saunders
Saunders, right, like Fury, is from a traveller background

Billy Joe Saunders has thanked fellow boxer Tyson Fury for putting him "back on the right track".

Saunders was refused a licence by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) in August because of an adverse Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test.

In September, he was fined £100,000 after offering a woman £150 worth of drugs to perform a sex act in a video posted on social media.

"If it wasn't for him (Fury) I wouldn't be boxing next week," said Saunders.

Saunders is to fight on 22 December in Manchester on the undercard of Josh Warrington's IBF world featherweight title defence against Carl Frampton.

"This is a thank you message for Tyson," said Saunders in a video on social media.

"I've done a lot of bad things this year (that) I'm not proud of but I have to thank Tyson.

"When I was going through that rough patch and acting a bit of an idiot, Tyson, who is probably the only man who can do it, put me in my place, had a good word and put me back on the right track.

"I was going down the wrong track. I have felt a little bit depressed all year and he's been through it so I have to thank him for his help."

Fury recently returned to the ring himself when he drew with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder following 30 months out of the sport as he battled depression.

Saunders was refused a licence to defend his WBO world middleweight title against Demetrius Andrade in October after returning an adverse finding for oxilofrine in a Vada test.

His promoter Frank Warren said the boxer would give up his belt because of the "mental anguish" and added the licence decision would be challenged in court.

Warren said the stimulant oxilofrine was in a "common decongestant nasal spray", while Saunders has insisted he is a "clean fighter to the bone".

Under World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) rules, oxilofrine is only banned in competition. That means a fighter is in breach of the regulations only if it is found in their system on the day of a bout.

But it is prohibited at all times by Vada, which tested Saunders on 30 August.

In terms of the video Saunders was fined for, it was the British Boxing Board of Control which handed out the punishment for misconduct.

Saunders apologised for the video and described it as "banter" that "went wrong".

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