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 yesterday 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 is understood would have been a career-high purse in the region of £6million for a potential rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.
On Friday it was reported Fury had tested positive for cocaine, just a week after he withdrew from their 29 October 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 said.
“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.”