Tyson Fury on his Depression, Cocaine Abuse and Problems with the Boxing World
Current reigning heavyweight boxing champion of the world Tyson Fury says his recent battle with alcohol and cocaine abuse is a result of his depression.
Fury’s upsets have garnered massive media attention over the past year, following his defeat of nine-year champion Wladimir Klitschko, his erratic behaviour including openly racist, sexist and homophobic outbursts and ditching press conferences. He went around the International Boxing Federation to arrange a separate rematch with Klitschko – a move that saw him stripped of his IBF title.
He has been diagnosed as bipolar, and also attributes his mental anguish and resulting addiction to the racism he encounters in the world of professional boxing and in the public eye. Fury is an Irish Traveller – a nomadic people who live in caravan communities, working temporary jobs, maintaining cultural traditions and adhering to a stringent brand of Catholicism. They are widely discriminated against in the UK. He said of his depression in an interview with Rolling Stone,
“I went over to Holland to do a training camp and was crying every night. I did not want to be there. I said to to [uncle and trainer] Peter [Fury], ‘I cannot do this anymore, Peter.’ I said I’m breaking down, I said there’s something wrong with me, I wanna go home, I said I don’t want it. Take everything and chuck it in the bin, I don’t want it no more. From that day forward, I’ve never done any training. I’ve been out, I’ve been drinking. I’m on the verge of becoming an alcoholic. I’m drinking Monday to Friday to Sunday. I can’t, I can’t deal with it, and the only thing that helps me is when I get drunk out of me mind and that’s it.”
Following this episode, Fury said he had decided to retire from boxing:
“I’m throwing all my world titles in the bin because I ain’t accepted in society for being a Traveler in 2016. What does it mean to be a world heavyweight champion when you cannot go into your local restaurant, sit down and have a dinner? It doesn’t mean nothing clearly.”
Retracting his decision last month, Tyson Fury stunned the sports world with his Tweet, “Hahahaha u think you will get rid of the GYPSYKING that easy!!! I’m here to stay.”
What will become of the Gypsy King has yet to be seen, but what we do know is that Fury’s decline is exemplary of co-occurring addiction and mental health concerns. Those with mental health issues like bipolar disorder are more likely to use substances as a coping mechanism, which can easily escalate into an addiction as the user comes to rely on them and the brain develops a pattern. For those struggling with addiction and depression, it’s important to seek out specialised treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously.
Read Tyson Fury’s full interview with Rolling Stone here: World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury: ‘I’ve Done Lots of Cocaine’.