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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, Daily Mail reports.
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.
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.
“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 s*x’ helped him lose the weight. And earlier this year he returned and secured wins against SeferSeferi 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.”
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 of the world, the person everybody is talking about and then it all goes wrong,” he said.
“He hits the drink, he’s out every night until five in the morning, sometimes didn’t come home for 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.
He has since used his popularity to try and spread awareness of the issue, which he still feels is a taboo for many in the UK.
“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.