Tyson Fury reverses retirement decision, says he's 'here to stay'
Tyson Fury has reversed his decision to retire from boxing, insisting he is "here to stay".
His erratic behaviour, however, has concerned those close to him, and led to his friend Billy Joe Saunders fearing he will be dead by 30 if he "doesn't get the help he needs".
Fury, 28, did little to help fears surrounding his condition when he unexpectedly announced his retirement on Twitter earlier on Monday while describing boxing as "a pile of s***" and "the saddest thing I ever took part in".
Retirement would have meant walking away from what Press Association Sport understands would have been a career-high purse in the region of £6million for a potential rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.
On Friday it was reported he had tested positive for cocaine, just a week after he withdrew from their October 29 date because he was "medically unfit" to fight, although his camp have not commented on that.
Meanwhile, those around him have said he was struggling with depression.
Yet just three hours after announcing his 'retirement', he appeared to reverse his decision when he wrote: "Hahahaha, you think you will get rid of the Gypsy King that easy? I'm here to stay #TheGreatest. Just shows you what the media are like. Tut tut.
"Soon as I get better I'll be defending what's mine: the heavyweight throne."
The wider picture has led Saunders to fear for Fury's health. The fellow traveller and world champion, 27, has known the heavyweight since he was 14, and fears he is in an "extremely bad place".
"I'm very concerned that he won't see 30 years old," he told Press Association Sport. "Very concerned. If the public don't get behind him, and he doesn't get the help he needs, it could affect his life and his family's lives forever.
"The travelling community's behind him. But it's out of the travelling community - the press - that need to give him a breather, a pick-me-up, a pat on the back.
"I'm not saying everything he's done's right - not even a 'You've done right, you've done wrong' - (he needs) a 'It'll be alright, don't worry about it, chin up'. Give him a bit of that and perhaps he might see a little bit of light, (it) might give him a little bit of confidence.
"I've spoken to him, but he's down, he's very down, he's not in a mood to talk to anybody. He's mentally not there.
"Nothing shocks me at the moment, because he's not mentally right. He needs help. He's in a bad place at the minute. I know him very well; extremely bad place."
Saunders' promoter Frank Warren, whose BoxNation television channel had expected to receive significant interest for the rematch that had been scheduled between Fury and Klitschko, instead believes it is Fury's personal responsibility to address his problems.
The two were speaking at a press conference to promote the first defence of Saunders' WBO middleweight title, against Artur Akavov at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on October 22.
Asked whose responsibility it was to straighten out Fury's life, Warren responded: "His. I know Peter Fury, his uncle, really works hard and I'm sure his dad does.
"But it's him. We're all responsible for our own actions and he sits there and (uses) Twitter and sends these stupid photographs and it's madness.
"All he's doing is harming himself. It's a waste of talent but what can you do? You can't keep making excuses for it.
"It's all very disappointing. BoxNation has invested millions of pounds in his fights and career. It's a shame for him and I want to see him get that right. When you do sit him down, he speaks sensibly.
"It's like a self-destruct button he's got. When you look at what he's done, it amazes me.
"This guy won the world title, for me the most outstanding performance of a boxer last year. To go into (Klitschko's) backyard, who'd been a world champion for 11 years, take his title away and then not fight again is crazy.
"People have put their money up, their time, and obviously his health must come before all of that. But he can't keep doing this to himself and his family and he can't keep doing it to the sport and I think if he's retired, he's retired."