by Adam McGroarty (@AdamMcGroarty1)
After securing a stunning points victory in Germany over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, Fury left the ring as world heavyweight champion.
The Englishman had been working for so long to reach this moment in his career, and when his historic victory was announced in the ring, Fury and his whole team were overcome with emotion. However, it wasn’t until after the fight when Fury began to realise all was not well.
He said: “Someone asked me ‘what are you going to do after the fight?’ and I replied ‘I am going to be deeply depressed.’
“I knew it was coming, for every high there has got to be a low. The bigger the achievement, the lower the low.”
“I had lost the passion to live”
This led the ‘Gypsy King’ down a dark spiralling road. Even though he tried to stay in training and to live his life as a normality, Fury revealed that his mental health “eventually got the better” of him. Suicidal thoughts crept into Fury’s mind, the heavyweight champion began to question his achievements.
This was evident in the press conference for Fury’s rematch against Wladimir Klitschko. Fury was asked “what does it mean to be world heavyweight champion?” to which he responded “nothing, it is worthless”. The Englishman has recently revealed that he can look back at that press conference and realise the drastic effect of his mental health. He said: “that man, he was not well.”
After leaving the ring Tyson Fury turned his attention to drinking, he described “when I used to have a drink the pain would go away” and this was his way masking over his mental state, giving him temporary relief. But he added “this means that the next day you are even more depressed than when you started” which just goes to illustrate the extreme cycle that the heavyweight was caught in.
At this dark time in his career, Fury said: “I had lost the passion to live.
“A boxing career was the last thing on my mind. When my promoter’s wanted me to vacate all my belts, I did not care. They were worthless.”
The battle and bodily abuse of Fury went on for 18 months, he revealed “I would go out to try and kill myself with drink on a daily basis.” Before the Klitschko fight the Englishman had never taken a drug and had never consumed alcohol excessively on a regular basis. However, Fury’s mental state caused him to lose all his values. He described this as “everything I once hated, I then did.”
The mental state of the former world heavyweight champion hit rock-bottom, Fury decided it was time to get his career back together. At 400lb the Englishman went to the British Boxing Board of Control and declared that he wanted his licence back. The BBBoC told Fury that he had to be declared ‘mentally fit’ by the same doctor that once declared him ‘mentally unfit’.
Fury had his licence approved, at this moment he described he was “on a clear running path”. The main obstacle that now stood in his way was how he would shift off the 400lb that he carried. However, Fury insists that his weight was never an issue since he says “I have been at 380lbs before many times, I often gained 100lbs after fights anyway.” The next step was to get a trainer, to which Fury turned to Ben Davison.
Fury revealed his choices when forming his new team meant that the ‘old’ Tyson Fury was no longer present. Frank Warren was Fury’s hall-of-fame promoter who would lead the comeback, and Davison was a young coach with very little experience, yet one that Fury put a great deal of trust into.
Fury described his emotion after his first fight back as feeling like “a fish back in the ocean”. His first fight back came on the 9th June 2018 at the Manchester Arena against Sefer Seferi, a show which kick-started a new partnership with Frank Warren’s promotions aired live on BT Sport. The ‘Gypsy King’ impressively lost 112lbs for the comeback fight, weighing in 28lbs heavier than his fight against Klitschko.
The fight ended after four rounds with Seferi being forced to retire from the bout. The Albanian was no doubt picked to be a relatively straightforward test for the former world heavy weight champion, but it was perfect to set the ball rolling for Fury once again.
Fury’s second appearance back on the comeback trail was against Francesco Pianeta in August at Windsor Park in Northern Ireland. Fury defeated Pianeta with a points victory in a 10 round fight. However, the main story of the event was not the fight itself, it involved a certain Deontay Wilder who sat eagle-eyed at ringside watching Fury operate.
After Fury claimed victory, it was Wilder who entered the ring and Warren confirmed that the two men would be fighting each other at the end of the calendar year.
Wilder vs Fury
After just two fights back in the ring and overcoming his own fights with mental health, Tyson Fury would travel to America to fight the WBC world heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder. The undefeated American has held the title since 2015, and just like he did to Klitschko, Fury travelled to his opponent’s territory to try and clinch it.
Fury weighed in at 256.5lbs, the heavier man by three stone. With a revitalised backroom team consisting of arguably the greatest trainer in Feddie Roach, alongside Ricky Hatton, Fury had a perfect combination of fresh youthful energy and experience around him.
In the fight Fury used his long reach to keep Wilder’s explosive efforts at bay, however this couldn’t prevent the Brit from being knocked down twice in the fight. Fury was by no doubt leading Wilder on points all throughout the fight, possibly even by 5 points heading into the final round.
The knockdown in the 12th round was crucial to the overall decision given. Fury was brutally knocked-out by a quick and powerful right hand from Wilder, who even caught Fury with a left hand as he was falling. Wilder’s celebrations started, however Fury somehow unexplainably rose from the canvas to hang on and survive the final round.
Some argue that Fury even won the last round, which means the 12th should have been 10-9 in favour of Wilder, not 10-8. However, the judges decided that it was a split decision draw, with the British judge scoring the bout equal.
After such an incredible comeback, Tyson Fury could easily have kicked up a fuss about the draw and protested the result, yet he did the opposite. Fury embraced the opportunity of a rematch and was at peace with the result, because he and his team all know in their minds that there was only one winner of that fight, and he arguably was a winner before even stepping into the ring at the Staples Centre.