Tyson Fury has lifted the lid on his rollercoaster battle to overcome mental health problems, alcoholism and drug addiction that kept him out of boxing for more than two years but culminates with his upcoming battle against Deontay Wilder for the world heavyweight title.
Fury became the king of the division when he dethroned Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in November 2015, only to surrender his belts amid problems in his private life.
Fury ballooned up to 28st before shedding his excess weight and returning to the ring this year.
Tyson Fury has opened up on his battle with alcoholism, drugs and mental health problems
The former world heavyweight champion is preparing to face Deontay Wilder on December 1
On December 1, he will look to become a two-time heavyweight champion when he takes on Wilder in Los Angeles. And during a press tour of the US, the 30-year-old has revealed just how serious his problems came during his time out of the sport.
‘I needed some time off, I’d been boxing from boxing since 10, 11 years old up to 27 with no breaks. So I needed time to live a little and enjoy myself but it just went too far,’ he told the Breakfast Club.
‘Anxiety started to come heavily, I always suffered with depression, when i was on top of the world I became more and more and more depressed until it was like suicidal thoughts and stuff like that.
‘I had everything – money, fame glory, good looks. I had it all, everything a man would ever want but yet it didn’t mean anything, I wanted to die on a daily basis.
Fury’s life spiralled out of control after he beat Wladimir Klitschko to win the world title
The heavyweight ballooned up to 28st during more than two-and-a-half years out of the ring
‘Material goods are only good for when things are going right in your life… you can have everything in the world and feel like s*** on a daily basis because no one can see inside the mind.
A therapist helped him ‘get his life back on track’, while six months of gruelling training, dieting and ‘plenty of sex’ helped him lose the weight. Andearlier this year he returned and secured wins against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta.
He now faces the mammoth challenge of the unbeaten Wilder. But the Briton is bullish claiming: ‘I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, mental health has to be the biggest enemy I’ve ever, ever, ever fought with. More than any opponent.
‘I really don’t know what had me depressed but I knew I was just spiralling out of control. The only thing I could think of to make it better and go away for a bit was getting drunk and that just led to problems after problems after problems.
Fury has had two comeback victories, against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta (right)
‘I don’t see a superhero, I just see a man with a pair of boxing gloves on,’ Fury said of Wilder
He adds: ‘I look at Deontay Wilder, I don’t see some superhero, I just see a man with a pair of boxing gloves on, another bare bum in the shower.’
Fury also claims it was the Bronze Bomber who gave him the fuel he needed to shed nearly 10st and resume his career.
‘I saw this little video he made and he said “Tyson Fury is finally finished, we’ll never see him again” and that was the day I got my running shoes back out. I started a run but I ended up walking because I couldn’t run 100 yards, I was that fat. I trained myself back nice and steady, we had a fairytale story.’
The heavyweight’s problems put strain on his wife, Paris, and their four young children, with Fury claiming he would disappear for days on end.
‘Can you imagine being married to jack the lad, the heavyweight champion onf the world, the person everybody is talking about and then it all goes wrong,’ he said.
‘I thought I was dying, I thought I was having a heart attack,’ he said of his first anxiety attack
‘He hits the drink, he’s out every night until five in the morning, sometimes didn’t come home fro three days — I’d go to the shop and end up in New York… from Morecambe… I was way out of control.’
The 30-year-old has now come to terms with his problems and is more aware of how and why to deal with any mental health problems.
But when he suffered his first anxiety attack, unaware what was happening to him, he panicked.
‘I thought I was dying, I thought I was having a heart attack, I rushed myself into A&E, I said: ‘Look, I think I’ve been drugged, someone’s trying to kill me, test me, I want a blood test right now, I’m having a heart attack, I think I’ve had a stroke,’ he claimed.
‘I was driving home, everything was going right, my wife said the tea was out so I was going home for my tea and it came on while I was in the car… I found myself running down the sidewalk, people beeping their horns.’
He added: ‘I was calling out to God to forgive me for my sins because I was 100 per cent certain I was going to hit the floor and die. The only thing I could think about was about my kids having no father growing up.’