AT 12:55pm on Monday (October 3) afternoon, the ever controversial boxer Tyson Fury announced his retirement to his 488,000 Twitter followers.

By 3:51pm, the 28-year-old had followed up his initial message to inform the world he was in fact ‘here to stay’.

Many high profile sportsmen including footballer Paul Scholes, swimmer Michael Phelps and fellow boxer Floyd Mayweather have previously come out of retirement, but none have gone back on their decision quite as quickly, or comically, as Fury.

The tweets, which were shared thousands of times on the social media channel, were primarily aimed at ‘corruption’ within the boxing community, including the stripping of his IBF belt just two-weeks after his victory, and his perceived harsh treatment from the media.

Corruption in boxing once again came under the spotlight this summer after Ireland’s Michael Conlan lost on points in the Olympic Quarter Finals to Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

Many experts believed Conlan comfortably won the contest, but the 24-year-old’s reaction, including his accusation that “Amateur boxing stinks from the core” and that top officials have taken bribes, is likely to see him receive a substantial punishment whether right or wrong.

Fury’s latest stunt follows the announcement that the current World Heavyweight Champion will face a doping hearing next month after traces of a banned substance were found in his urine, and once again pulled out of an already rearranged rematch against Wladimir Klitschko.

It is, believe it or not, less than a year since he took on Klitschko in one of the most anticipated boxing events in recent history, where 55,000 people packed into Dusseldorf’s Esprit Arena last November to witness the ‘Gypsy King’ end the Ukrainian’s reign.

Since that famous victory however, his often strong views, further postponement of a Klitschko rematch, and recent doping allegations have all contributed to a fairly turbulent 12 months for the still undefeated fighter.

In the run-up to the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, Fury’s nomination caused much controversy – dividing opinion, much like the man himself.

His remarks that heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill ‘slaps up good’ and that ‘a women’s best place is in the kitchen’ prompted public backlash and calls for the BBC to remove his place on the shortlist.

Fury, who issued an apology live on the show to those he may have previously offended with his words, placed fourth on the night ahead of stars including Lewis Hamilton and Mo Farah.

“It’s all very tongue-in-cheek,” he told a divided audience.

But if some members of the public were beginning to believe the Wythenshawe-born boxer had turned a corner, recent allegations surrounding a failed drugs test have certainly failed to do his reputation any good.

In July it was reported Fury had tested positive for nandrolone; an anabolic steroid used for performance enhancement but which is also created naturally in the body.

More recent revelations however surround traces of benzoylecgonine found in one of the athlete’s samples, the compound tested for when analysing urine for evidence of cocaine.

Citing a long term battle with depression as justification, the WBA, WBO and IBO champion admitted in a recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine his use of cocaine was required in order to deal with his personal issues.

His training regime, as a result, has been near non-existent.

The outcome of these activities away from the boxing arena could have significant implications, with some suggesting this could very well be the end of his titles and even his career.

Without doubt, such possibilities will be music to the ears of those who believe behaviour such as Fury’s has no place in professional sport.

There is certainly no room at the pinnacle of sport for high profile athletes to express such offensive homophobic or sexist remarks, and it is truly disappointing that such a great fighter will be predominantly remembered for the things he did outside of the ring.

Tyson Fury is far from conventional. But in all honesty would we want him to be?

Sport needs its characters, and although Fury takes this need to its absolute extremity his ability inside the ring and the unique entertainment factor he provides in the build up to fights is irreplaceable.

To lose Fury in such circumstances would ultimately be a great loss to the world of boxing and to its spectators on a pure performance basis; his defeat of Klitschko was undeniable proof of his world-class skill.

It now remains to be seen whether or not one of sport’s most controversial figures will ever compete again.

If, however, Monday’s retirement fiasco is anything to go by, Fury certainly won’t be going down without a fight.

By Harry Poole

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