Fury, the reigning WBO and WBA heavyweight champion, announced his retirement on Twitter on Monday before reversing his decision three hours later, insisting he was “here to stay”.
That came after more damaging headlines last Friday when it was reported he had tested positive for cocaine, just a week after he withdrew from a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko because he was unfit to fight. Fury’s camp have so far refused to comment on the cocaine allegations.
Bellew, who defends his WBC cruiserweight championship against BJ Flores on October 15, believes Fury is struggling with mental health issues and is concerned for his welfare.
“I think it is very, very sad, he has got a mental illness, without a shadow of a doubt,” the Liverpudlian told Press Association Sport. “I know Tyson and his father and his uncle. They are some very good people, who I know, honest men, straight people.
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“I am not condoning what Tyson Fury has done. If this cocaine thing is true, then it is absolutely disgusting what he has done. He deserves a long ban.
“I feel for him at this moment in time, I really do. There are clear reasons why he is doing what he is doing and I can only wish him well and pray to god that he comes out on the other side of this safely.
“It’s just sad, this lad is a father and husband. He has got people who care about him very much.
“His wife loves him, his children need him, I just hope that he comes home safe and does nothing silly because in the frame of mind he is in at the minute, he’s not stable and they are worrying times.
“He is doing a few foolish things, it is sad. I believe the media set out with an agenda the minute he became a rich man, they set out to destroy him and they have done it.
“He has contributed to a lot of that himself with the actions he has taken, the things he does on Twitter - it is stupid.
“He will look back at this when he grows up and he will be ashamed of himself. But ultimately we need to put that on the back burner and get him what he needs, which is help. Don’t snarl or turn your nose up to people with mental health problems.”