Tyson Fury has revealed the moment he knew he had to turn his life around in a touching discussion with Frank Bruno, as they opened up on their respective battles with mental health issues.
The pair have been highly transparent about their about their struggles in the past, having both been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Bruno, who won a world title at the fourth attempt as he beat Oliver McCall in 1995, recently revealed he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act last year during lockdown.
Tyson Fury (left) and Frank Bruno (right) opened up on their struggles with mental health
Fury is set to square off against Deontay Wilder (right) for a third time on October 9
Fury is set to fight long-term rival Deontay Wilder for a third time on October 9, after the American won an arbitration case that prevented an historic all-British undisputed showdown against Anthony Joshua this summer.
As Fury was preparing to face his British rival, he sat down with Bruno, 59, to discuss their experiences ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, which started on Monday.
Recalling the biggest fights of their decorated careers, Fury insisted his battle with mental health has been more challenging than what any opponent has presented.
‘For me, I think the mental health problems are bigger than all of it, Fury said in the discussion organised by WOW HYDRATE. ‘Because it doesn’t care who you are, it doesn’t care if you are a king or a kid or anything.
‘I have been unwell all my life. I didn’t know what it was but I remember having anxious feelings and being left behind. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way as a little kid and all the way growing up as a young teenager, a young adult.
‘But I actually didn’t get any diagnosis or anything until I got to like 29 years old. I just thought it was like a normal thing, like everybody had these ups and downs.’
Fury became heavyweight champion with a stunning win over Wladamir Klitschko in 2015
But he subsequently struggled with mental health issues and ballooned up to 27st during a spell of over two-and-a-half years out of the ring
Fury’s comeback was encapsulated by his miraculous recovery to draw against Wilder in 2018
Fury’s struggles with mental health are well-documented, particularly after he became world champion with a stunning victory over the long-reigning Wladamir Klitschko on away soil in 2015.
The Gypsy King would not fight again for over two-and-a-half years, ballooning up to 27 stone and subsequently revealing he was abusing drugs and alcohol to subdue to the pain.
Fury, who states people could not understand why he had thrown away his success, reveals the moment he realised he had to turn his life around.
‘I looked in the mirror one day and I thought you know what, I have got to change,’ he said.
‘I remember Halloween night 2017 and I went out. I was going to go out and have a mad drinking session, probably a big drunk bender or whatever I was going to do.
‘I came to my senses for like 10 seconds, I was drinking this beer and I thought what am I doing here? I have got to go home; I have got to change my life.
‘I started training every day and I thought what made me good in the beginning, I’m going to go back to that. I’m going to go back to training every day and eating clean.’
Bruno, 59, won a world title at the fourth attempt as he beat Oliver McCall in 1995
Pictured: Bruno fights Mike Tyson in, 1989 for the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles
Bruno, who fought the likes of Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis throughout a highly successful career, started to struggle with his mental health after hanging up his gloves in 1996.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1998 and was sectioned for the first time in 2003.
‘It affected my family life in a big way because I wasn’t the same,’ Bruno recalled. ‘When I finished with boxing, that’s when George Francis, my trainer, said “that’s when the fight starts”.
‘When you have finished with the training, you’re not coming down the gym, you’re not keeping up to your routine.
‘Something flips, you know what I mean. You get very vexed or very upset very quickly and you can be a not very nice person to be around.’
Fury, however, insists the key to keeping his mental health issues in check is regular exercise.
He lost a staggering 10 stone from his highest weight as he eventually claimed the WBC heavyweight belt with an historic stoppage win over Wilder.
His stunning victory followed comeback wins against Sefer Seferi, Francesco Pianeta, Tom Schwarz, Otto Wallin and a draw against the American.
Fury destroyed Wilder in seven brutal rounds to capture his WBC belt in their rematch last year
The Gypsy King insists they key to keeping his mental health in check is regular exercise
He said: ‘I sort of found my own way through mental health because what I do, Frank, is I use the training as the medicine.
‘If I don’t train for two or three days I dip. Thank God I’m able to train all the time now. Like I say I come in here and I work out in the morning, I come in the evening and work out again and then I go to sleep.
‘I just do one day at a time. That’s how I do my life. I don’t plan weeks, months, years in advance. I just do today, get through today and then wake up tomorrow hopefully and then do the same again.
‘As long as I can still keep releasing that serotonin in the brain it makes me feel good. I don’t know what’s going to happen if I somehow get injured where I cant train or whatever. I fear those days.
‘I really am scared of what might be around the corner because I know no matter what I’ve got, how much money I’ve got, what achievements I’ve done, it can all be taken away from me by mental health problems.’
It’s a sentiment echoed by Bruno, who now works out at least once a day.
He said: ‘Training is an endorphin thing. Looking after yourself is the most important thing you can do.
‘Just wanting to keep clean, eat properly and healthy and live a life, you know what I mean. It brings out the fire in you a little bit. I mean having bipolar, I’m trying to understand it and I still can’t.’
Fury and Bruno hope the stigma of mental health can evaporate with continued conversation
Importantly, both Fury and Bruno believe they can help the masses by sharing their message on mental health.
‘I wanted to speak out because I thought if I’m feeling like this there’s got to be a lot of normal people out there in the world feeling like this,’ Fury said.
‘I think if I can be heavyweight champion of the world and it can bring me down like this, and people can see me get up after this, then they can do the same thing.
He added: ‘I feel like now a lot more people are coming out with mental health stuff. And it’s smashing the stigma for mental health but the more people talk about it the more it will overcome all that.’
Bruno agreed, stating: ‘Definitely. Years ago, you couldn’t talk to nobody because they would be taking the p*** out of you as soon as I went out the room, saying here comes the nutter or whatever. I’ve been through it and got the t-shirt.’
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