Controversial world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has provoked further confusion surrounding his future by appearing to announce his retirement – only to renege on the decision hours later.
Fury’s boxing career, which peaked when he beat Wladimir Klitschko in November last year, was already in doubt after he pulled out of a rematch with the Ukrainian for a second time.
The British fighter has also been plagued by suggestions that he has failed drug tests – claims which he has denied – and faces the threat of being stripped of the second of four belts.
Unbeaten Fury appeared to declare his professional career over after 25 fights when he wrote on social media on Monday: “Boxing is the saddest thing I ever took part in, I’m the greatest, and also retired.”
Just hours later, however, the Manchester-born 6ft9in pugilist implied that his previous statement had been a ruse, writing: “I’m here to stay.”
Good news is I'm getting the right help & I'll be back even stronger than before, try & stop me!!😀😀😀🙏🙏 God is great, blessed is Jesus.— TYSON2FASTFURY (@Tyson_Fury) October 3, 2016
The episode is likely to increase concerns about Fury’s wellbeing after his uncle and trainer Peter Fury said last week that his nephew had been affected by negative coverage.
Fury pulled out of rematch with Klitschko planned for July citing an ankle injury. UK Anti-Doping charged him after they said traces of banned substance nandrolone were found in a urine sample but later lifted a provisional suspension. His camp denied the alleged positive test and a hearing into the matter is slated for November.
The 28-year-old then last week withdrew from a rematch with Klitschko rescheduled for October, saying he was medically unfit to fight. The World Boxing Organisation have demanded further details by Thursday or they could strip him of the WBO belt.
Fury, who also holds the WBA title, lost the IBF crown just a fortnight after his shock defeat of Klitschko because he did not fight mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov.
Britain’s Anthony Joshua, who is keen to fight Fury and Klitschko, now holds the IBF belt after he beat American Charles Martin, who defeated Glazkov for the vacant title in January.