Australia's former IBF middleweight boxing world champion Sam Soliman has scored a significant win outside the ring.
Germany's BDB imposed a nine-month ban on Soliman and wiped out his February 2013 win over Felix Sturm in Dusseldorf, after announcing he had tested positive to an illegal stimulant.
However, it was later proven Soliman hadn't taken a forbidden substance and German judges have now ruled the BDB's sanctions were unlawful. Soliman lost the IBF title to Jermain Taylor in October of 2014 and is currently on a three fight losing streak, with his last ring appearance being a two-round TKO defeat to Sergiy Derevyanchenko in July.
"The decision by the German court has lifted a weight from my shoulders that I've had to live with for nearly four years," Soliman said.
While the suspension only covered areas under the BDB's jurisdiction, the time consuming battle to clear his name meant Soliman went over 10 months after the Sturm bout before fighting again.
Soliman said the BDB's sanctions at the time cost him a world title shot and damaged his reputation, something the German judges made reference to in their 14-page statement.
"The public was given the impression that the applicant had taken banned substances, which is now even a criminal offence, and is, in any event, a roughly unfair, unsportsmanlike behaviour," the statement said.
"An unfairly imposed ban and disqualification will therefore not only seriously damage the career but also the reputation of an athlete, which can lead to considerable financial losses."
Soliman's manager David Stanley didn't rule out the chance of his fighter taking legal action against the BDB for possible loss of earnings.
He said the findings meant the original result of the fight would be restored, with Soliman recognised as the winner by a points decision.
"This has been a three-and-a-half year, plus bout for Sam," Stanley said.
"It was a 15-rounder and the last three were a year each."
Even before the judgment Soliman got a universally recognised win inside the ring against Sturm, when he took away his IBF title in May 2014 in Germany.
He lost the title in his first defence in which he was severely hampered by a mid-bout injury and has lost his two subsequent fights.
The Victorian veteran has no intention of retiring despite the first three-fight losing streak of a professional career now deep into it's 20th year.
Stanley said there were a couple of fight options for Soliman that were currently being considered.