Tyson Fury: An Inspiring Comeback from Depression

Written by: Jeonghyeon

Edited by: Jagat

Visual by: Macy

On the evening of October 9, 2021, the third edition of Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury took place. After a grueling 11 round match ending in a technical knockout (TKO), “The Gypsy King” Fury maintained his unbeaten status, taking the WBC heavyweight title and third consecutive win from “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder. 

Fury is no stranger to the throne of the heavyweight world. Back in 2015, Fury had managed to defeat Wladimir Klitschko to claim the WBA, WBO, IBO and the IBF heavyweight titles by unanimous decision in Dusseldorf, Germany. Following his victory, Fury stated that “When I beat [Klitschko], I didn’t have anything more to prove.” 

Fury’s IBF title was taken from him just 10 days after the Klitschko bout as a result of contractual issues. He was also forced to surrender his other three WBA, WBO and IBO titles after he failed to fight a rematch with Klitschko due to his weight gain, in addition to a charge of the banned steroid nandrolone which saw him lose his boxing license. He further postponed his rematch with Klitschko after declaring himself “medically unfit,” with many reporting that he tested positive for cocaine before his announcement. 

This led to one of the Englishman’s lowest points as he publicly battled depression, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and immense weight gain, and was eventually stripped of his titles. Fury continued on this downward trend, drinking and eating fast food, resulting in him weighing over 400 pounds. 

Following his positive drug test, Fury openly described his battle with depression, and in an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, the boxer was at one point a “manic depressive” and had admitted to having contemplated committing suicide. It was during this period where public opinion turned against him after he made a series of offensive remarks towards the LGBTQ+ community and Jewish people, resulting in thousands of people signing a petition to have him removed from nomination of the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. 

In an interview with The Independent, Fury stated that on Halloween 2017, he sat in his bedroom and cried. “I thought to myself, what has my life come to? I’ve gone from being heavyweight champion of the world to being a fat mess.” That day on, he wore his sweatsuit and went for a run, hoping to return to the sport.

But before he could enter the ring again, he would have to have his boxing license reinstated after his previous nandrolone charge. This resulted in a messy legal battle between his legal team and UK Anti-Doping, but ended with Fury being cleared of his charges in December of 2017. In January 2018, he reapplied for his boxing license, and in that same year won matches against Albanian Sefer Seferi and Italian Francesco Pianeta; he soon set his sights on the heavyweight champion at the time, Deontay Wilder. 

Finally, at his first match with Wilder, it ended in a draw, the first of Fury’s career. Soon later he moved on to beat Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, before again scheduling a rematch of February 2020 with Wilder. It was here Fury led the entire match, winning in a seventh round technical knockout, as the opposing end threw in the towel, securing Fury the WBC and the Ring heavyweight championships. Just a few days ago, a third rematch saw Fury claim his third victory over Wilder, ending in a technical knockout after 11 rounds, which saw both fighters enduring numerous hits. 

Following this monumental comeback from depression and substance abuse, the Gypsy King has received public praise for speaking openly about his mental health issues, even being dubbed “The People’s Champion,” inspiring many across the world. After rebounding from such a difficult time in his life, his story shows exactly that “anything is possible with the right mindset.”

Works Cited

Ankel, Sophia. “Inside the comeback story of Tyson Fury, the undefeated ‘Gypsy King’ who overcame a depression and shed 112 pounds to be heavyweight champion of the world, twice” Business Insider, Business Insider, 27 February 2020. https://www.businessinsider.in/thelife/news/inside-the-comeback-story-of-tyson-fury-the-undefeated-gypsy-king-who-overcame-a-depression-and-shed-112-pounds-to-be-heavyweight-champion-of-the-world-twice/articleshow/74344114.cms 

Jabbar, Nasir. “Tyson Fury’s Remarkable Comeback Story: From 27 Stone To No.1 Heavyweight In World Boxing” Sport Bible, Sport Bible, 12 August 2019. https://www.sportbible.com/boxing/news-boxing-furys-comeback-story-from-27-stone-to-no1-heavyweight-in-boxing-20190810 
Hale, Andreas. “Deontay Wilder confident that movies will be written about his comeback against Tyson Fury” Sporting News, Sporting News, 8 August 2021. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/boxing/news/deontay-wilder-confident-movies-comeback-tyson-fury/1338xcqv9beaq16mm209l7a81a