Tyson Fury vows to fight on after claiming he would quit
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 the Belfast Telegraph 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 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'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 which is coming up against Artur Akavov at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on Saturday, 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."