Tyson Fury exclusive interview: Beating Klitschko was my Everest, but this 'second career' is different, I am enjoying the ride

Gareth A Davies
The Telegraph
Tyson Fury says conquering his mental health has given him a new perspective - Getty Images North America
Tyson Fury says conquering his mental health has given him a new perspective - Getty Images North America

It is one of the peculiarities of sport that heroes so often rise and fall, or vice-versa, and heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury fits the bill perfectly. The Gypsy King is adamant he is now on 'a second life, a second career' as his mighty plunge and climb again has brought redemption in both his career and as a man. 

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After claiming the world title belts from Wladimir Klitschko four years ago, Fury's life spiralled out of control, leaving him depressed, fighting mental illness, fuelled by booze and drugs. He was suspended from the sport, and spent 30 months in the wilderness, ballooning to an incredible 28st. He even considered taking his own life. 

Ten stone lighter, he is now less prone to putting his size 15 feet in his mouth - which he did with his outspoken opinions on homosexuality, abortion and paedophilia. A life change has come over the 6ft 9in fighter. 

He fights on Saturday in Las Vegas, against Sweden's unheralded heavyweight Otto Wallin at the T-Mobile Arena. It will be Fury's last contest, we are told, before the mega-fight rematch with World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder early next year. They drew last year with a controversial decision denying the undefeated 31-year-old Lancastrian the victory he deserved.  

Fury told The Daily Telegraph:  "Learning about conquering my mental health has given me a new perspective. It's like a second life, and a second boxing career. When I beat Klitschko, it was my Everest, but this is all so different now. Everything is changed. My health, my faith, my happiness. There is no anxiety and worry in my life.

<span>Tyson Fury draws an audience in Las Vegas ahead of fight night</span> <span>Credit: PA </span>
Tyson Fury draws an audience in Las Vegas ahead of fight night Credit: PA

"This is like a second life, 100 per cent. I had the first career and all the hustle and bustle of making it and making a few quid. I had winning the belts. But the return journey has never been about who’s getting what, the belts, or who I’m fighting. This second career is about me enjoying myself and fulfilling my destiny.

“I don’t have any fear when I fight. I'm just enjoying myself, I know if I train well, there’s nothing much more I can do. I know if God is with me, then nobody is against me. If it’s my time to lose then I’ll welcome it. I can’t do much more than eat, train and sleep. I do the right things and if I do, I’ll win fights. But if I’m not meant to win fights, then I’ll lose.

“Every man will lose to the better man someday. The thing is to enjoy your ride while you’re on it, and that’s what I’m doing. But I do have ambitions, I want to fight Wilder twice more, fight Anthony Joshua, too, but I just love my boxing now.”

With his wife Paris and five children, Fury says he’s binman, bus driver, school drop-off man. He makes a mean packed lunch. 

A four-part ITV Series will air later this year - 'At Home with The Furys' - which has seen camera crews with Fury and his immediate family, for the last nine months. "People will see the real me at home. I'm just a normal guy. The cameras have been with me for a while. I haven’t held anything back. It’s an inside look at the life of Tyson Fury, not the boxer but at home as a husband, father and son.”

<span>Fury is never scared of mixing things up, this time donning a lucha libre mask ahead of entering the ring to work out</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Fury is never scared of mixing things up, this time donning a lucha libre mask ahead of entering the ring to work out Credit: Getty Images

As for opponent Wallin, Fury said: “You’ve got to take them all seriously. I never underestimate any of them. They’re all men with gloves on who can do as much damage as the next one, especially heavyweights. 

“I’m going to enjoy myself and have a good time. I’m in there to win and enjoy myself. I’ve seen him box, but you never know until you’re in there with them. He’s an awkward southpaw. He’ll take a bit of breaking down, but I’m sure I can do it.

“All prizefighters deserve respect. Any heavyweight can beat any heavyweight, even underdogs. I was a massive underdog against Wladimir Klitschko. I went in there as a challenger and came out as a champion.

“He was my Everest and the Everest was conquered in the first part of my career. It’ll never be redone and no one will ever take it away from me. There will never be a fight that will be better than it. It was my greatest night as a boxer in my career.

“I’m doing this now for the love of the sport rather than achievements. I’ve achieved everything there is to achieve. I just want to do this as long as I can.”

<span>Fury prepares to take on Otto Wallin this Saturday</span> <span>Credit: PA </span>
Fury prepares to take on Otto Wallin this Saturday Credit: PA

Saturday night's ring walk is expected to dovetail with Mexico’s Independence Day. Fury is wily at winning the fans over. 

"The plan is to pick up all the Mexican fans. We have special music. I know [President] Trump is trying to block them out with that wall. All human beings are human beings to me. At the end of the day, we’re all brothers and sisters.”

America has proved the perfect backdrop to Fury's redemption. He explained: “It does feel like a home away from home. Providing I win this fight, I’ll be training here again for February 22 [against Wilder]. And again and again and again."

His Britishness and eccentricity - and honesty about his demons and life changes - fits the bill.

“I think Vegas is the perfect place for me,” he adds.“I drive down The Strip and see the Gypsy King up in lights all over Vegas. It’s not a one off either. I’m actually one of the biggest shows in town, maybe the biggest.” It is said with a mock tone, which helps explain his popularity.

“I’m just a normal person, because I’m just a son, a brother, a husband and a father; someone who has worked hard and got their rewards. That’s it really. That’s the good thing about me. I’m still the same old person I’ve always been." 

 Just that this time, he’s on a second life, a second career.

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