In April, Tyson Fury was done with boxing, but now he’s realized he just can’t live without it.
Fury puts his WBC heavyweight world championship on the line on Saturday as he battles fellow Briton Derek Chisora with 60,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
After defeating Dillian Whyte with a great save in round six in front of 94,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in the spring, Fury said: “This could be the last curtain for the Gypsy King.”
But Fury, born three months premature, weighing just one pound and not expected to live, has been a fighter all his life. And he just can’t stop.
“For four months I was retired and I was back to that time when life was very dark and very boring,” Fury told BT Sport.
“I’m not back in boxing for a belt, more money, to win five fights or to unify the division – I’m back in boxing because of this,” he added, pointing her head.
Fury’s battle with mental health issues has been well documented. After knocking out champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to clinch the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts, Fury spent two and a half years out of the ring.
He has since described himself as having become “a fat 28-stone pig, drinking and doing drugs on a daily basis” and that he “suffered from depression to suicide, anxiety attacks, everything, we couldn’t go any lower.” “.
After that win over Whyte, Fury, with 32 wins and a draw, felt he was back to where he was in 2017 and needed to act.
“I know now that I can’t live a normal life, it’s not going to happen. It was going downhill fast,” said the 34-year-old fighter from Morecambe. “I don’t know any other way to stay sane, without boxing I am nothing.
“I’m very selfish because I should have left in April when I said I would but I’m back for more punishment, an idiot really, but what can I do?”
“Take out the trash and pick up dog poo”
His former trainer Ben Davison, who helped Fury drop 10 stone to get back in the ring a few years ago, felt Fury didn’t expect to fight again.
“When Tyson said it, he believed 100 per cent at that point that he would retire,” Davison told BBC Sport. “But it’s probably sanity, he was bored and wanted something to do.
“He loves boxing and has gotten back to it. He’s a fantastic athlete, always ready to hit the rounds, relaxed and in control.”
Promoter Frank Warren said he was happy to have Fury boxing again, but would have told him to quit if it was bad for his health.
“He was five months old and he was taking out the bins and picking up dog poo – it was driving him crazy,” Warren told BBC Sport.
“He told me he didn’t want to fight anymore, but he had said it many times. Whatever he wanted to do, I was with him.
“If I thought he shouldn’t fight, I’d be the first to say it. I’d tell him to give up. He wouldn’t be the first fighter I’d say that to.”
“The best heavyweight of a generation”
Since returning in 2018, Fury has fought eight times, including a thrilling trilogy with American Deontay Wilder, but admitted the grueling bouts took their toll.
“I turned pro at 20, I’m like an old Ford Escort banger with 250,000 miles on the clock,” he said. “Every part of me is ripped apart – joints, elbows, knees, back, I’ve got a hell of a mile on the clock.”
Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton, now a BT Sport pundit, feared Fury had too many fights but believes he is “in the right headspace” for Saturday’s event.
Frampton said: “I asked him ‘at some point this has to end, what do you do then? “
“The answer was quite grim. At some point he will have to understand that he can’t go on anymore. He can’t box at 60.
“There are other things that can fill that void, maybe train or manage fighters.”
“My only concern for this fight would be that he’s beaten Chisora twice before and he might skip it. But if Fury is on, he’s the best heavyweight of a generation.”
Chisora steps in as Joshua and Usyk have to wait
There was a lot of criticism on social media when Chisora, 38 – a boxer who has lost three of his last four fights and suffered 12 defeats in his 45-fight career – was named as Fury’s opponent.
Fury beat Chisora in a wide points victory in 2011 when they fought for the British and Commonwealth titles and again in 2014 when Chisora was pulled from his corner at the end of the 10th round in a competition for the British and European belts.
Warren said Chisora is the highest-ranked heavyweight available, while potential fights with two-time champion Anthony Joshua and reigning IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA holder Oleksandr Usyk fell through, although the Ukrainian could be next if Fury wins.
Chisora remains a hugely popular fighter with his relentless attacking style and the fact that he never shy away from a challenge. Fury himself called Chisora a “folk hero” and said he and his children encouraged him by watching his fights.
He may have lost 12 times, but seven of those have come against men who held a world title, with three losses against those who fought for a world belt.
Nonetheless, Fury is favored at 1-20 odds, while you can get a 14-1 odds over Chisora, who would become the fifth-oldest heavyweight champion should he cause an upset.
“I rate Chisora as well as I rate Usyk,” Fury added.
“I trained as hard as I would for anyone and if I didn’t I would be an absolute idiot. I certainly won’t underestimate Chisora.”