Drugs, obesity and questionable interviews – since his victory over Vladimir Klitschko in November 2015, Tyson Fury has slipped from one escapade to the next. Before the upcoming heavyweight fight against Deontay Wilder (Sun., 3 o’clock live on DAZN) SPOX looks back on the scandal orgy.
At the age of 39, Vladimir Klitschko had already outgrown the best boxer age for some time in November 2015. Nevertheless, he was the clear favourite in the World Cup fight against Tyson Fury, who was believed to have won much, but not necessarily all, of the eleven-year unbeaten Dr. Steelhammer.
But Fury taught betting providers, experts and critics a better lesson. Not only did he hold out for twelve laps, but with his unconventional style, his recurring jabs and his ring presence he was the better boxer that evening and won as unanimously as deserved on points. The “Gypsy King”, as the Briton with Sinti and Roma ancestry baptized himself once, had climbed the throne with the triumph. The World Championship titles of the four federations WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO were his. He reaches the peak of his career.
But Fury wouldn’t be a physical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde if he had been able to extend this heyday. But it took only ten days until he pulled the first stone out of his so unstable Jenga Tower of Life and rocked his 2.06 meters.
Instead of competing against Vyacheslav Glazkov, the compulsory challenger, as stipulated in the contract, Fury preferred a rematch against Klitschko. The result: The IBF denied him the title he had just won.
The duel 2.0 should rise in July 2016. But before this happened, Fury first drew attention to himself with a video interview on sportsviewlondon.com, in which he spoke of “brainwashing” by “Zionists and Jews, who own all banks, newspapers and TV stations”.
These anti-Semitic statements were followed by predictions that the moral decline of society would lead to an early legalization of sex with animals. He also insisted that homosexuality and paedophilia should be forbidden – slogans that have all earned him massive criticism and from which he has now moved away.
But Fury not only caused a stir with his content, his appearance was also a topic of conversation: Despite the upcoming rematch, he had apparently only rarely seen his old gym from the inside and instead consumed a lot of junk food. He weighed 177 kilograms in the meantime. “I was so fat that I couldn’t run 100 meters,” the colossus later told of his weight problems.
Problems that he ignored with little self-criticism at the time and instead troumped towards Klitschko: “I’m fat as a pig and I don’t feel like boxing at all. But it’ll still be enough to knock you out. You’re just a piece of shit!”
In fact, it wasn’t enough to put Klitschko on the floor. The rematch never took place.
At first, Fury suffered an ankle injury, but that didn’t stop him from cleaning up with English fans in a bar in Nice during the European Football Championship. A second date, scheduled for the end of October 2016, was also cancelled by the Feierbiest. Again, he cited health problems as a reason.
But anyone who thought of another injury was wrong. As it turned out later, there was a completely different reason: cocaine. The American Anti-Doping Agency tested him positively for this drug on the day of the cancellation. “I’ve taken a lot of things in my life, including a lot of cocaine. A lot,” he confessed, but wondered: “Why shouldn’t I take it? It’s my life, isn’t it?”
His life, which in 2016 must have felt like a ski descent in a shot along a black piste – steep downhill, without any chance of rest. His everyday life no longer consisted of training, but of cocaine, alcohol and other drugs.
“I left the house at home in Morecambe to go to the store and woke up three days later in New York,” Fury reported a few weeks ago about his alcoholic trials at the time. It was private low blows that drove him mad. And questioned his sporting future in a curious way.
At the beginning of October 2016, he announced his retirement from the professional business via twitter. “Boxing is the saddest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a bunch of crap. I’m the greatest, and I’m retired too,” they said, only to revoke a few hours later: “Hahahahaha, you think you can get rid of the Gypsy King so easily!!! I’ll stay. #TheGreatest only shows you what the media want # Tut tut.”
A few days later it turned out what a terrible fate hid behind the bizarre escapades. “He’s on a self-destructive trip,” uncle and coach Peter Fury told the BBC about his nephew’s actions: “I don’t think he’s addicted to drugs. Whatever he took, it’s ultimately a result of his depression.”
This – manic – depression was made public by the undefeated boxer himself shortly before. “I hope every day to finally die. I don’t want to wake up anymore, I don’t want to live anymore”, he revealed deep insights into his soul to the Rolling Stone. He hopes that “someone will kill him before I do it myself. Otherwise I would spend eternity in hell”.
Fury, whose mother gave birth to four children in 14 pregnancies, saw one reason for his illness in his victory against Klitschko: “I was much happier when I didn’t have the title.”
So the man from Manchester took his consequences and, accompanied by a bang in the drum, in mid-October of the same year, withdrew his remaining world championship titles from the WBO, WBA and IBO. “I am currently unable to defend my titles in the ring and have made the difficult and emotional decision to officially hand over my valuable world titles,” was a statement from his management. He wants to recover completely “without any pressure and with the help of medical experts”.
Consequently, he announced his resignation again in July 2017. Fury used the time to collect himself, he went into therapy and back to training. Within a few months he lost a lot of pounds – and finally celebrated his comeback in the ring on June 9 of this year.
However, the duel with Sefer Seferi was more like a circus event than a serious boxing match. Not only did the Albanian give up after the fourth round for no apparent reason, but Fury had already caused the spectators to boast with grimaces and clownish dancing in the middle of the ring. The referee even issued a warning for “showboating”.
After Fury defeated Francesco Pianeta in August, it soon became clear that his next opponent was Deontay – or to put it in Fury’s words: Beyonce – Wilder. At the official press conferences before the fight, the 30-year-old already lived up to his reputation as a trash talker. Is the next escapade imminent in the ring of the Staples Center?