Tyson Fury overcame addiction and obesity to become a world champion.
Tyson Fury overcame addiction and obesity to become a world champion.

The Inspirational Story of Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury

Nathan Baugh, Matt Trombley
Articles

At 28, Tyson Fury was battling:

  • Addiction
  • Obesity
  • Depression

At 33, he’s the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Fury displaying his championship belt.
Fury displaying his championship belt.

Born in Manchester, Tyson Fury dominated the English amateur boxing scene. In 2008, he won the ABA super-heavyweight title before turning pro at the age of 20.

Fury’s career skyrocketed:

  • 2x English heavyweight title
  • European heavyweight title
  • 24-0 record

His incredible success led to a fight for the World heavyweight title.

In 2015, Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision to become the world heavyweight champion. He was supposed to be on top of the world. But his title was stripped 10 days later. Fury’s life quickly spiraled out of control.

Fury throws a punch mid-fight.
Fury throws a punch mid-fight.

Fury’s mental health deteriorated rapidly. He told Rolling Stone in 2016: “I’m going through a lot of personal demons, trying to shake them off… I don’t want to live anymore.”

The former champ became addicted to cocaine and gained weight until he was 400 pounds. He then willingly vacated his other world titles, citing his inability to defend them in the ring. It was the best decision of his life.

With the media attention gone, Fury:

  • Received professional help for his mental health
  • Spent a lot more time with his family
  • Got back in the gym

At the beginning of 2017, 2 years after the Klitschko fight, Fury was ready to fight again.

Tyson Fury shows off his body transformation in his return to fighting.
Tyson Fury shows off his body transformation in his return to fighting.

But the British Boxing Board of Control wasn’t having it. Fury was still suspended on anti-doping - and this was in March 2017. Fury’s charges weren’t resolved until that December. With the mental and legal struggles behind him, Fury hit the comeback trail.

Fury dominated his first two opponents, defeating one by KO and one by unanimous decision. It was clear Fury was back. The current heavyweight champion - Deontay Wilder - came calling.

In December 2018, Fury and Wilder squared off for the heavyweight title. Fury landed more punches, but Wilder put him on his back twice. The fight was ruled a draw.

The first fight between Fury and Wilder ended in a draw.
The first fight between Fury and Wilder ended in a draw.

A rematch was scheduled for a year later. Fury won the fight in the 7th round, reclaiming the world heavyweight title. The fight contract said the loser can invoke a trilogy, if he chooses. Wilder chose to do just that.

In October 2021, Fury vs. Wilder 3 took place in Vegas. It was called “the greatest heavyweight fight of the generation.” Fury KO'd Wilder in the 11th round. 5 years since the worst of his mental health struggles, Fury solidified his title as the best boxer in the world.

Fury solidified his title as best boxer in the world.
Fury solidified his title as best boxer in the world.

Fury is incredibly open about his struggle with mental health. He says, “one of the best things I ever did was come out and speak about it.” He hopes his story inspires others to get the help they need, believe in themselves, and not to fight their battles alone. See the clip below where he speaks on this.

Tyson Fury climbed to the top of the boxing world. Then hit rock bottom less than a year later. Now, he’s reclaimed his title and - more importantly - become one of the world’s biggest mental health advocates. It’s one of the best comeback stories you’ll ever hear.

And I cannot recommend this Showtime interview with Tyson Fury enough. It's one of the best conversations around mental health you’ll ever hear.

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