Tyson Fury's second round KO of the previously undefeated Tom Schwarz proves the ex addict and alcoholic is back -- and badder than ever!
From World Champ to Addict and Alcoholic
November 2015. Dusseldorf, Germany. British boxer Tyson Fury beats nine-year champion Wladimir Klitschko. It's a stunning upset. One of the biggest in modern boxing. It also makes Fury the heavyweight champion of the world.
Apparently WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles weren't enough though. Even after they threw in another from The Ring. Because ten days later the IBF stripped Fury of his title (due to a rematch clause). And by the end of the year he'd be forced to relinquish the rest. It was one of the shortest-lived heavyweight championship reigns in boxing history.
Fury's fall was also as surprising as his stunning upset. Then again, maybe it wasn't. By spring he'd ditched training camp -- and boxing. He'd spend the next four months snorting cocaine, drinking daily and getting "fat as a pig."
"I’ve been out drinking, Monday to Friday to Sunday," he told Rolling Stone in October 2016. "And taking cocaine. The only thing that helps me is when I get drunk out of me mind."
By this time Fury had become a full blown addict and alcoholic. He'd also become deeply depressed.
"I was a lot happier when I wasn’t the world champion," he said then, "because people wasn’t giving me as much shit. I’ve been pushed to the brink. And I can’t take no more."
"I don’t even want to wake up," he added. "I hope I die every day. And that’s a bad thing to say when I’ve got three children and a lovely wife. But I don’t want to live anymore. I just hope someone kills me before I kill me self."
Fortunately Fury was in a hospital at the time, so only the doctors got to Fury. The diagnosis? "A version of bipolar," he said. The docs also told him he was "a manic depressive." It's a cinch his mental illness was exacerbated by drug and alcohol addiction.
The Addict and Alcoholic Makes a Comeback
The addiction treatment must've worked. Big time. Because Fury was back at it a mere eighteen months after that alarming Rolling Stone interview. In fact, he was back at it and then some. Vowing to fight three fights before the end of the year.
That was in April 2018. In June Fury defeated Albanian boxer Sefer Seferi. In August he defeated Italian Francesco Pianeta. Then in December he fought a split decision with American Deontay Wilder.
The tie meant that Wilder would retain his WBC title. But it also meant that Fury was back -- with a vengeance.
"The 'Gypsy King' has returned," Fury said after the fight. "I hope I did you all proud after nearly three years out of the ring. I came here tonight and I fought my heart out."
Indeed. Not only did Fury hold his own against one of the world's preeminent heavyweights, but he also out-landed the reigning champ in 9 out of 12 rounds. No easy feat against a hitter such as Wilder.
The brawl was a blockbuster. And when it was all said and done Fury reportedly donated his entire $9 million earnings to several UK charities that specialize in providing housing for recovering addicts and alcoholics.
Ex Addict and Alcoholic?
Can Fury now be called an ex addict and alcoholic? Well, that depends on who you ask. Saturday night's knockout shows the boxer is clearly back on his game. It also clearly shows he's put his demons in check. And that feat alone deserves everyone's applause.
Fury's got another fight coming up this year, with an as-yet named opponent. Then comes the much-anticipated Fury/Wilder rematch, which is slated for early 2020. If Fury can keep those demons at bay, he's likely to regain all his heavyweight titles. Either way, it's going to be one helluva fight.
Then again, Fury is one helluva fighter. In the ring, as well as out of the ring. And he deserves to be called champion no matter what. After all, Fury's battling back from depression, drug and alcohol abuse is one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history.