World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury says he is “here to stay” after earlier suggesting he had retired from boxing.
The British fighter, who withdrew from his 29 October rematch with Wladimir Klitschko because of reported mental health issues, had tweeted: “I’m the greatest, and also retired.”
But three hours later Fury, 28, was back on social media to suggest his earlier claim had been a joke.
“Hahahaha, you think you will get rid of the Gypsy King that easy?” he said.
“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.”
He added: “Good news is I’m getting the right help and I’ll be back even stronger than before, try and stop me!”
Fury had been scheduled to earn the biggest purse of his career for his second fight with Klitschko at Manchester Arena this month.
He postponed the original rematch against the Ukrainian, which was scheduled for July, after injuring an ankle in training.
He was given 10 days by the World Boxing Organisation to provide detailed reasons for his second withdrawal.
Fury, who holds the WBA and WBO titles, also faces a hearing in November into a charge for an alleged doping violation.
He was charged by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad) in June, after traces of a banned substance were allegedly found in a urine sample.
The fighter has denied allegations of doping.
It has also been alleged he refused to give a sample, having been visited by Ukad. An athlete who refuses to take a drugs test can be banned for four years.
It is almost a year since Fury beat Klitschko on points – the 40-year-old’s first loss since 2004 – to gain the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles, with American Deontay Wilder holding the WBC belt.
Within two weeks, Fury was stripped of the IBF title because he was unable to fight mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov – and that belt is now held by rival British world heavyweight champion Joshua.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has claimed Fury would never fight again, prompting the champion’s trainer and uncle, Peter Fury, to state his nephew would return to the ring next year.
Mike Costello, BBC Radio 5 live boxing correspondent:
“Tyson Fury revels in toying with the media. Within the space of four hours, we have seen another one of his performances.
“There is confusion and controversy all around Fury as there has been ever since he came to the top of the throne by winning the world title last November. It was one of the great upsets recorded by a British boxer in the history of the heavyweight division, yet it has been clouded by what he has said and done in the aftermath.
“I did an interview with middleweight boxer Billy Joe Saunders and he told me Fury is in ‘a bad place’, worse than he has ever seen him. The two are good friends and he has known him all his professional career.
“Fury has not built up a reservoir of goodwill with either the media or the many fans who have booked tickets, trains and hotels for the rematch and the original rematch in July, who have now twice lost their money. Will the fans trust him in the future? Will promoters trust him any more and book a hold of a stadium or arena wondering if he will ever turn up?
“He has put himself in a really difficult position here and there are many people in boxing who feel he is in a really bad place at the moment.”