Tyson Fury is used to having to fight his corner, both in and outside the boxing ring. After scrapping his way to become undefeated heavyweight champion of the world in 2015, he fell into a well-publicised battle with his mental health that almost derailed his career.
Now firmly back on top, the boxing titan told Big Issue editor Paul McNamee about the mental health issues he’d grappled with throughout his life and professional career in a rare interview.
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“It’s an ongoing battle, if I’m honest. It’s a daily battle of ongoingness. You don’t just overcome it and it goes away. It’s a continuous battle forever. That’s my experience,” Fury said.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you did mental health, you got over it’. I didn’t defeat it. I’m just learning how to maintain and manage it better than I did before.
“Before, I had no experience and didn’t know what to do. Now I’ve had the experience, I can maintain and probably manage it better, because I’ve been through it. I know what I’ve got to do.”
Last year Fury released Behind The Mask, the acclaimed autobiography that provided an honest telling of his mental health struggles. His new book, The Furious Method, looks at how he overcame these problems to regain the top spot.
Want to know how I lost weight, came back from the depths of depression, and smashed Wilder – and how you can make your comeback too? My new book is available for preorder! Get your signed copy from Waterstones in link in bio. Or find on Amazon: https://t.co/twyH1LSUjK. God Bless pic.twitter.com/iVsfe2ArHR
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) September 11, 2020
Fury said anybody could experience mental health problems, even if nobody would expect a six-foot-nine, 275-pound heavyweight champion to be “vulnerable or weak”.
“I wanted to show the world that anyone can be brought down to their knees with mental health, no matter who they are, where they are,” he added.
“No one is exempt from mental health. Even if you’re a positive person it can bring you right down to your knees as well. I also wanted to show the world that anybody can come back with the right mindset with the right training and the right help.”
Now, he faces his biggest professional challenge yet, potentially facing fellow Brit Anthony Joshua next year in one of the biggest – and most lucrative – fights in history.
He told The Big Issue he wasn’t very concerned: “After [Joshua’s] last couple of performances, I think he’s coming to the end of his reign. He was exposed by [Andy] Ruiz. In the rematch, he did what he had to do to get through, but didn’t look impressive. He’s been out of the ring over a year. I do really believe and I’ve always believed I’ll be able to take him out for sure.”
'Let's hope this fight happens…I've been willing to take the fight for the last 5 years.'@Tyson_Fury tells @piersmorgan and @susannareid100 about why he decided to challenge @anthonyfjoshua in the ring.
He also has a message for the two-time unified heavyweight champion. pic.twitter.com/kAEx0ePPpo
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) December 14, 2020
Fury also set out his mammoth seven-day a week twice a day training regime, and said he wouldn’t even have a break on Christmas day.
“I’ll do a long road run on Christmas Day. I always like to get Christmas Day running in because I believe that I might be getting an edge on the competition. They might take Christmas off – I won’t.”
However, despite his busy schedule, he has still found time to launch the Tyson Fury Foundation to help those experiencing homelessness. He said it would be ready to support the vulnerable once Covid-19 allowed.
“As soon as it’s up and running it’s going to be available to lots of different charities. It’s going to be a good thing for the community and a good thing for people who are suffering from mental problems or who are homeless,” he added.
“I had help when I was down. I wouldn’t be back here without the right support from many people.”
Fury ended with a message of support for Big Issue vendors, many of whom have been off the streets and unable to sell for months.
“Stay positive,” he said. “Things will always work out, stay positive and stay focused on the short-term goal. That always helps me.”
Read more from Fury, including how he will be spending Christmas, if he has any regrets and on being invited for lunch by both Donald Trump and the Pope in this week’s Big Issue, available through our online shop and from your local vendor now.
The Furious Method: Transform Your Mind, Body and Goals by Tyson Fury is out now (Cornerstone, £20).