Fighting-fit Fury ready for redemption
By Peter Gilbert
Tyson Fury is on the road to redemption against Deontay Wilder in what could be one of the biggest comebacks in the history of boxing.
The former three-belt heavyweight champion challenges Wilder for his WBC crown on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles after turning his life around.
“A man goes from rags to riches and loses it all within a year but wins it back again all within a year of his comeback. How great a story is that?” declared Fury on BT Sport.
Fury realized his world title dream when he ended the 11-year reign of Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, but his life soon descended into a self-destructive cycle of alcohol and drug abuse.
Titles vacated, boxing licence suspended, Fury ballooned to 400 pounds while his depression took him to the brink of suicide.
Salvation came by the way of fellow boxer Billy Joe Saunders, who last year invited his ‘best mate’ to a training camp in Marbella. It was at the MTK Gym on the Costa del Sol where Fury met trainer Ben Davison, a friendship formed and a comeback was plotted.
“I might be biased but knowing where Tyson has come from, I believe this will be the biggest win in the history of boxing,” predicted Davison on BT Sport.
“It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up because nobody will ever know the deepness and the truth of this journey.”
The self-proclaimed “Gypsy King” has won twice since returning in the summer, extending his undefeated record to 27-0. He has shed 150 pounds and credits training for his survival.
“I wouldn’t be alive today, if I didn’t change my life. I definitely wouldn’t have made it,” insisted Fury. “I was a mental, emotional wreck and on the way to having a heart attack and dying.
“I don’t believe I would be here today if I didn’t come back training.”
Fury was written off ahead of the Klitschko fight and against Wilder – an undefeated champion with 40 straight wins, 39 by knockout – he is again the underdog.
The 30-year-old, however, has defied the odds since he was born three months premature, weighing only one pound.
“The doctors told me there was not much chance of him living,” recalls his father, John Fury.
“They told me there was not much hope for him. It was 1988, Mike Tyson was in his pomp as world heavyweight champion, and so I said, ‘Let’s call him Tyson’.”
Little Tyson has grown up a bit since and the 6 feet 9 inch undefeated giant may have also found his own way to live happily ever after.
“This comeback, beating Wilder after the time out and the weight and everything else that goes with it, it’s a fairytale ending,” added Fury.
“Being a fat lazy bum with millions in the bank is no life at all. Being hungry and fit, being a lion in the middle of the jungle – that’s life.”