KEIGHLEY’S Muhammad Ali thanked Tyson Fury for providing him with inspiration, after he successfully returned to the boxing ring with a win.

It was a debut like no other for the 2016 Rio Olympian. He won on a second round disqualification, with his opponent deemed to have been holding on for too long in the clinches.

Ali was making his first appearance inside the ring since being banned from the sport for two years after testing positive for the anabolic muscle growth steroid, Trenbolone, during the World Series of Boxing (WSB) back in April 2017.

Fury also suffered a two-year doping ban, along with his mental health struggles, which led to a three-year absence after ending Wladimir Klitschko’s dominant reign of the heavyweight division in 2015.

The ‘Gypsy King’ completed his comeback by beating Deontay Wilder and capturing the WBC title in Las Vegas on the same night as Ali’s return.

The super-bantamweight credits Fury for portraying the notion of never giving up.

Ali said: “I thought Fury did what he had to do, he took it to Wilder and shocked him.

“That is everyone’s goal, to be a world champion.

“The way he has gone about it too, he was at rock bottom. I have been out for three years as well so I can kind of relate.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself, you have just got to make the most of your opportunities and do what you have to do.”

The 23-year-old felt confident in victory on the undercard of Frank Warren’s promotion at the York Hall in London.

Ali thinks journeyman Stefan Sashev was continually looking for an exit in the scheduled four round bout and credits his fans for travelling down south in support.

He said: “I don’t think he (Sashev) came to fight. He just kept holding and wasn’t throwing anything.

“I think he just wanted to survive. The referee had enough of it and disqualified him.

“I didn’t want it to end like that. I wanted to get a clean knockout.

“I landed a hook right at the start and he felt it. I just think he didn’t want to know after that.

“I was buzzing. I felt like it is where I belong.

“I want to big up everyone who came down. There was around 250 of them so I just appreciate it.

“He (Warren) is going to help me big time because he is one of the biggest promoters in the world, so I just need to do my bit and perform now. I think I should be next out sometime in April.”