- Tyson Fury opened up about his experience with depression on Joe Rogan’s popular MMA Show podcast.
- Fury was on top of the boxing world when he stunned Wladimir Klitschko with a punch-perfect performance to win three of boxing’s four major championship titles in 2015.
- But that massive high led to a massive low. Fury turned to drink, drugs, and even tried to commit suicide, he said.
- At his lowest ebb he drove his Ferrari convertible 190mph and was tempted to crash into a bridge so he’d crush the car “like a Coke can.”
- But a voice told him not to, he pulled over, was “frightened and afraid,” and sought psychological help.
- He is now on the comeback trail and is looking to win a world heavyweight title once again, when he challenges Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt on December 1.
Tyson Fury has said he “suffered with mental health problems” all his life, but was only able to understand it after he became boxing’s heavyweight champion of the world.
Fury, an unbeaten fighter, stunned the boxing industry when he outclassed long-reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko in a 2015 fight in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The victory was resounding as Fury’s awkward style — rangy and long, with an accurate shot selection from unconventional angles — bamboozled Klitschko, and inflicted the Ukrainian’s first defeat in 11 years.
The win completed Fury’s life’s work, he said. As an amateur fighter, he used to study Klitschko and always dreamed of beating him and becoming boxing’s new ruler. “When I beat him, I didn’t have anything more to prove,” Fury told Joe Rogan on the popular MMA Show podcast.
There was an immediate high that followed winning three of boxing’s four biggest world championship titles, but this then led to a massive low. “I had to have a low,” he said. “I woke up and I wondered why I woke up this morning. I had money, fame, glory, titles, a wife, a family, kids, everything, but I felt like I had nothing, just an empty gaping hole filled with doom and gloom.”
Fury claims boxing politics stripped him of the championship belts he legitimately won in the ring. He then said he turned to substances. “I hit the drink, heavily, on a daily basis. I hit the drugs. I was out all night partying with women of the night and not coming home. I didn’t care about boxing, about living, I just wanted to die. I was going to have a good time doing it while I was doing it.
“I used to drink and take drugs to get away from the depression because when I was drunk or high then I wouldn’t think about being depressed.”
The substances Fury abused were alcohol, specifically lager, then whiskey and vodka, and also cocaine. He said that when he was drunk, he’d feel great, like a boxing champion, but when the drink wore off it just left him “with a bad hangover and feeling even more depressed.”
He said: “For someone who suffers from mental health the worst thing you can do to escape it is take drugs or alcohol but that’s the common approach, we don’t know, it’s not spoken about.”
It was not long before Fury lost his fighter’s figure and ballooned up in weight. “There’s 500 calories in a pint of beer. And I’d have 18 of those. Followed by whiskey, vodka. Then I’d stop off on the way home and have pizza, kebabs. I was 400-pounds, a drug addict, alcoholic, cocaine was the usual one. Cocaine and alcohol. Crazy drug and alcohol mix. I look back on it now and I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I needed to be tested to find out what kind of character I was,” he said. “I tried to commit suicide.”
Fury came close to death in the summer of 2016. “Nobody could talk sense to me at all,” he said. “I’d go very low at times, very low. I’d think crazy thoughts. I bought a brand new Ferrari convertible. I was on the strip of a highway. At the bottom of a five-mile strip there’s a massive bridge that crosses the motorway. I got the car up to 190 miles per hour. I didn’t care what no one was thinking. I just wanted to die so bad.”
“Just as I was heading to the bridge, if I hit it the car would have crushed like a Coke can by the way, I heard a voice say, ‘No, don’t do this Tyson. Think about your kids. Think about your family and your little boys and girls growing up with no father.’ And everyone saying, ‘Your dad was a weak man, he left ya, he took the easy way out because he couldn’t do anything about it.’ I pulled over and I could feel myself shaking. I was frightened and afraid. And I never wanted to think about taking my life again. I got help.”
Seeking psychological help and having his father, John Fury, move in with him, his wife, and children, helped Fury take the first steps toward his comeback in sports. He had tried other hobbies, but there was a void in his life that could be filled with one thing and one thing only — boxing.
“I tried golf, clay pigeon shooting, 4x4ing, strip clubs, bars, but I had this emptiness inside where I just wanted to fight.”
Fury returned to the boxing ring in 2018, over 30 months after he had toppled Klitschko. He stopped the low-ranked fighter Sefer Seferi in the fourth round in Manchester in June, before defeating Francesco Pianeta on points two months later.
He is now looking to win a heavyweight world title, for the second time in his life, as he challenges the big-punching American fighter Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 1.
Wilder’s power means he is a fighter many might fear, but judging by the way Fury tells it, he has already won the fight of his life.