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Heavyweight boxing

Tyson Fury to mental health sufferers: ‘I did it for you guys ... get up, get over it, seek help and let’s do it together as a team’

  • British heavyweight dedicates his rise from the canvas to those who suffered like he did
  • The 30-year-old spent two and a half years away from the ring battling depression and drug addiction
PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 December, 2018, 1:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 December, 2018, 1:47pm

British heavyweight Tyson Fury stunned the world when he rose from the canvas after what appeared to be a knockout blow by American rival Deontay Wilder during their title fight over the weekend.

Flattened by a combination in the 12th round that would have signalled the end for most fighters, the 30-year-old Fury was back on his feet and fighting again within 30 seconds. In those few seconds, Fury performed a symbolic physical re-enactment of an even greater recovery that took more than two years to complete – from mental health issues he suffered during his time away from the ring.

And the 2.06-metre giant, who battled to a split decision draw with Wilder in Los Angeles, made a special dedication to people all over the world suffering from mental health problems, saying they too can lift themselves off the canvas of depression and live life to the full again.

Talking to BT Sport, Fury said: “It’s an iconic comeback, isn’t it? Two and a half years out of the ring, 10 stone ballooned, mental health problems. I just showed the world tonight, and everyone else suffering from mental health [problems], that you can come back and it can be done.”

Looking straight at the camera, Fury added: “Everybody out there who has the same problems I’ve been suffering with, I did that for you guys. You know the truth, everybody out there knows I won the fight, and if I can come back from where I’ve come from, then you can do it too.

“So get up, get over it, seek help and let’s do it together as a team. I did it for you guys.”

Fury and Wilder went into the WBC title fight with undefeated records and fought to a draw with two judges splitting the decision after 12 rounds and the third judge calling it evens.

Fury went down twice, in the ninth and 12th rounds, which may have swayed the decision for a draw. The latter knockdown was particularly brutal with Wilder connecting with a perfect right-left combination. Wilder’s manager said he saw Fury’s “eyes roll back into his head” and for almost everyone watching, there appeared no way he would be able to raise his 116-kilogram frame off the floor.

However, within a few seconds of being floored the man from Manchester was already telling the referee that he was OK to fight on. Before the 10 count, he was up on his feet and ready to box again.

It was one of the most incredible recoveries seen in professional boxing as Fury stayed with Wilder until the end of the round.

Fury, a devout Christian who praised God after the fight, claimed the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles after ending Ukraine powerhouse Wladimir Klitschko’s 10-year reign as undisputed champion with a unanimous decision victory in November, 2015. A rematch was on the cards but the fight was postponed because of an ankle injury to Fury, who quickly descended into a life of cocaine and depression.

He also ballooned to over 180kg and lost all except his linear title.

Fury started his comeback in May, 2018, beating Albanian Sefer Seferi and, in July, seeing off Francesco Pianeta before his bout with Wilder.