This should be the best time of heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury’s life. The controversial but charismatic “Gypsy King” just took the belt off longtime champ Wladimir Klitschko in October of last year, and a big money rematch has been looming through 2016. The two were set to fight in Fury’s hometown of Manchester in July, but Tyson pulled out with just over a week to go citing an ankle injury. And just last week he pulled out of a second planned date in October due to ‘mental illness.’
Fury has discussed his manic depressive tendencies bluntly in the past, and now he’s just revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that he’s spent the past four months drinking, getting fat, and doing cocaine. As of the interview on Monday, he claimed to have been clean for just three days. “I’m going through a lot of personal demons, trying to shake them off,” he told the magazine.
How seriously he’s trying is what’s in question now. The Klitschko fight was called off on September 24th, but on October 1st Fury posted a photoshopped image of himself as Scarface protagonist Tony Montana sitting behind a mountain of cocaine. And on Monday he announced his retirement on Twitter by calling boxing “the saddest thing I ever took part in” before reversing himself three hours later saying “I’m getting the right help & I’ll be back even stronger than before, try & stop me!!!” The Rolling Stone interview claiming he was three days sober happened later in the evening.
From the outside, it seems like Tyson is in the grips of another manic episode, swinging wildly from one position to another. In a past interview with the Guardian, he explained how his mental illness affects him.
“There is a name for what I have where one minute I’m happy, and the next minute I’m sad, like commit-suicide-sad,” he said back in 2010. “And for no reason – nothing’s changed … One minute I’m over the moon and the next minute I feel like getting in my car and running it into a wall at a hundred miles an hour. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m messed up.”
Fury clearly needs help, but if he was able to spend the last four months leading up to the biggest fight of his career doing coke and getting fat instead of training, there’s definitely some serious holes in his support net. We can only continue to hope that he turns this around and the next headline featuring Tyson will see him in a better place.