In recent years, Tyson Fury has become an ambassador for mental health after overcoming his own struggles. We have rounded up 10 of his best quotes on the subject.
In November 2015, Tyson Fury was on top of the world after dethroning long-reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, achieving a lifelong goal of becoming heavyweight champion of the world. Fast forward two years later and the ‘Gypsy King’ had suffered a titanic downfall of his own, his pre-existing mental health issues exacerbated by copious amounts of drink and drugs that drove him deeper and deeper into his own personal abyss. A desolate Fury had consumed his way to obesity, reportedly ballooning in weight to almost 400lbs and all hopes of a return seemed lost.
But one night late in 2017, the Manchester man had a revelation that sparked a miraculous comeback, culminating in an incredible performance against the most feared puncher in boxing today, Deontay Wilder. It was a performance most believed should have earned Fury the victory and not the draw awarded by the judges at ringside.
The questionable outcome of that fight did nothing to sully a comeback story worthy of Hollywood, however. In little more than a year, Fury had summoned the strength to overcome his demons, lost 130lbs, fought his way back to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division and won the hearts of boxing fans across the world.
Following the disappointing decision that might have sent the Fury of old back into another downward spiral, the renewed and remotivated Fury would go back to the drawing board, winning bouts against two undefeated fighters in Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin before earning sweet revenge in emphatic fashion against Wilder. A 273lb Fury, having seemingly packed on 17lbs of muscle since their first fight, systematically dismantled the American throughout the fight, forcing Wilder's corner to throw in the towel in the 7th round. With the victory, Fury won the WBC strap, the only title that had been missing from his impressive collection.
But, in contrast to the controversial caricature he painted himself as after the Klitschko fight, not only is the 'Gypsy King' winning inside the ring, he now uses his celebrity status outside the ring as a platform to speak about mental health, sharing his own experiences with depression as a means of eradicating the stigma still surrounding the issue.
With that in mind, here are 10 of Fury’s most poignant quotes on mental health:
1. On raising awareness of mental health (taken from his appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast, shown below):
“I want to spread the word on mental health so when other people are in this position in the future they know where to go and they know what to do because there's a blueprint.”
2. On his miraculous recovery from THAT 12th round knockdown at the hands of Deontay Wilder in their first fight:
“I am not a special human being. I am a normal man. I wasn't just down for me and my family; I was representing people with mental health problems around the world. I had to continue and carry on.” - on his miraculous recovery from THAT 12th round knockdown by Deontay Wilder.
3. On his fairy-tale comeback after almost three years away from boxing:
“I fought back from thinking about suicide, mental health, depression, anxiety. I wanted more than anything to show the world it can be done. Anything is possible with the right mindset.”
4. On depression and regaining his appreciation for life:
“I have been so dark that everything was pitch black. Before, every single day for me was a grey day. And some people might not know what I am talking about when I say that, but every day shouldn't be a grey day. Because life is a blessing. And now I know that every day is a rose-coloured, sunshine day. Which I appreciate. I appreciate every second, every hour, every day, because life is so very short.”
5. On overcoming mental health issues:
“If I can turn my life around from what I have been through, and still come back, then anybody can achieve anything they want to from life. I mean that.”
6. Inspirational words for anyone suffering with mental health issues:
“You are not a weak person, you are not a let-down, you are not a failure. People won't laugh at you. It is an illness. Just like cancer. Just like every other illness out there. It's a silent killer. It's just a constant battle with yourself.”
7. On the power of mental health issues:
“If mental health can bring somebody as big and strong as me to my knees, then it could bring anybody to their knees.”
8. On support and seeking help:
“Having a family and having a supportive family, it helps. But it's not just family because we don't choose our family. We choose our friends. People may not have great friends, people might not have top friends or people may not have any friends. But you always need to speak to somebody and I believe talking is the key to everything.”
9. On the silent struggles sufferers of mental health problems endure:
“You can have everything in life and feel like shit on a daily basis because no-one can see inside the mind.”
10. And finally, this harrowing story highlighting Fury’s own struggle with suicidal thoughts:
“I bought a brand-new Ferrari convertible in the summer of 2016, and I was in it and I was on this strip of the highway where I am. At the bottom of about a five-mile strip there’s a massive bridge that crosses the motorway. I got the car up to about 190mph and I was headed towards that bridge.
“I didn’t care what no-one was thinking, I didn’t care about hurting my family, friends, anybody. I didn’t care about nothing, I just wanted to die so bad, I gave up on life. And just as I was heading towards that bridge at 190mph in this Ferrari – it would have crushed like a Coke can if I’d have hit it – I heard a voice saying: '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 you and he took the easy way out because he couldn’t do anything about it.
“Before I turned into the bridge I pulled onto the motorway and I was shaking. I pulled over and I was all nervous and I didn’t know what to do and I was so afraid. And I thought that I’ll never ever try or think about taking my life ever again.”
If you or someone you know is suffering with mental health issues, visit http://www.cocoonais.com/mental-health-hotlines-worldwide/ for a useful list of helplines. Don't suffer in silence.