HIV-Positive Boxer Cleared to Fight

Heavyweight Tommy Morrison, who was indefinitely suspended after a positive HIV test on the eve of a 1996 fight in Las Vegas, has been cleared to return to the ring after passing a battery of medical tests, Morrison told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

Morrison is in Chester, W.Va., to fight on a card there Thursday night. His opponent in the four-round bout is slated to be John Castle of Indianapolis. Morrison's bout is not scheduled to be part of the Versus-televised coverage of the card.

"It's been a long time coming," Morrison told ESPN.com. "I know I didn't have [HIV] in the first place. I never had it. I believe it, but they kicked me out of the sport. ... Over the last two or three months, I have taken five, six different [HIV] tests and continued to pass them. It was just a matter of time before they had to let me fight again."

Official announcement is expected at a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Mountaineer Race Track.

Top Rank, which is promoting Thursday's card, is considering signing Morrison if it is pleased with how he performs. Morrison has been training for months in Phoenix.

After his positive HIV test, Morrison boxed once more, knocking out Marcus Rhode in Japan in November 1996. Morrison (46-3-1, 40 KOs), 38, reached the pinnacle of his career with a June 1993 decision win against George Foreman to claim the vacant WBO heavyweight title.

Morrison has maintained that his positive HIV test was a false positive. In a March 1996 chat with ESPN.com, Morrison revealed that he tested positive for HIV.

Before Morrison was cleared to fight, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com he was considering getting involved in a Morrison comeback as long as he passed the appropriate medical tests.

"They've [doctors] told me it is possible for HIV to disappear and if that's the case with Tommy, why shouldn't he be able to fight," Arum told ESPN.com last month.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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