Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s experiences with mental health have been well-chronicled.
His fight to maintain his mental health, which included suicidal thoughts, played a role in Fury not boxing for more than 2 ½ years after upsetting Wladimir Klitschko to win three major titles in 2015.
The inactivity cost him the belts, but he returned to the ring in 2018, using his platform to become an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and using his own example to help inspire people around the world.
It has resonated with some, as Fury said a few days ago he was approached by a man who wanted to take his own life and Fury helped talk him out of it.
“I had a strange experience — very strange. I’m very humbled in one way and freaked out in another,” Fury said. “A random stranger came to my house and told me he was just about to commit suicide but wanted to talk to me before he did it. Me being me, I talked him out of it and took him on a three-mile run. He’s left as happy as Larry and it seems to have worked.
“For all those people out there suffering with mental health problems, please do not take your own life. It will get better — I promise you. There’s help around the corner. Please seek medical advice.”
England’s Fury, 31, won two comeback fights in 2018 after dealing with depression and then fought to a draw challenging titleholder Deontay Wilder last December, in a fight in which Fury got up from two knockdowns, including a very heavy one in the 12th round. He has used his ability to rise from the canvas as a metaphor for people struggling to maintain their mental health.
“You can return to what you once were,” Fury said. “It ain’t over. It wasn’t over then and it ain’t over now. Come on people! Don’t give up! Keep fighting. Never say die. Keep getting up like I did in the 12th round against Wilder. Keep moving forward because we never surrender.”
Since the draw with Wilder, Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) has defended the lineal title twice more, with a second-round knockout of Tom Schwarz in June and a unanimous decision against Otto Wallin in September. He is scheduled for a much-anticipated rematch with Wilder on Feb. 22.