The Roar
The Roar


It was Tyson Fury who smashed the stigma of being 'weak' by talking about his mental health - and it made me feel like I could do anything

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder exchange punches during their WBC Heavyweight Championship title fight. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
5th March, 2024

In 2015 when heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko, the fighter regarded by many as the ‘Greatest of all time’ in the sport, many people thought that he was on top of the world. However, in actuality he was at rock bottom. After a controversial drug test result, Fury was stripped of all the belts he had won as he spiralled into depression. I remember a picture resurfacing online of a Tyson Fury who weighed over 180 kg and was smiling. But little did everyone know, that smile was hiding unimaginable pain.

Fast forward to 2018, the then heavyweight boxing megastar Deontay Wilder who held the WBC Heavyweight Championship belt, called out Fury, who was deeply struggling with mental health issues. Fury responded via video message saying, “You’ve given me the motivation, telling me I can’t do it. … Coming back for you, baby.”

Tyson Fury celebrates.

Tyson Fury celebrates his 11th round knockout of Deontay Wilder to retain his WBC heavyweight title. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Many had written Fury off, including his own family, saying that it would be impossible to come back given the amount of weight he had gained and the mental health issues he previously had.

I remember watching an interview where Fury, back when he was at rock bottom, told his wife that he would come back and be a champion again. His wife shrugged off his words as just something he wouldn’t commit to, as Fury had repeatedly been saying he would come back in the past but would never stick to his promise. He was like the boy who cried wolf. But this time, something changed. Something was different.

He connected with trainer Ben Davidson and both of them tuned out the world and forged their own path. They ignored everyone saying it was impossible for Fury to return and he had chosen the wrong trainer. Eventually, Fury came back and just like Rocky Balboa, nothing would stand in his way as he motored through the division, brushing any boxer aside who dared to stand in his way.

To see a person who was at rock bottom, who was minutes away from committing suicide by speeding, turn his situation around inspired little old me. Picture the scene: A 13-year-old disabled boy who didn’t believe in himself and wondered why he was the one born with a disability out of everyone else.


Everyday during lunch break, wondering why I couldn’t eat certain types of food while seeing other people eat whatever they want. Seeing my family stress over my wellbeing and constantly going to hospital and doctor appointments. Seeing this giant of a man come back from the lowest of lows inspired me so much. I felt like I could do anything, and seeing Fury speak up about mental health when the stereotype of boxers was that they’re ‘emotionless’ people who don’t dare speak about mental health because it’s seen as ‘weak’.

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury at training. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

Fury came back and changed the boxing landscape forever. He gave dozens of interviews to famous multimedia platforms, being open and vulnerable with his mental health issues. While other boxers speak about how hard life is for the people who are in struggling countries, Fury spoke about the silent battle most people are going through.

By destroying the stigma of mental health in boxing and in sports – where people who speak about their mental struggles are seen as ‘weak’ and not cut out to handle the professional game – he made it infinitely more comfortable for other athletes to speak out about issues.

Ryan Garcia, a young lightweight boxer, is another boxer along with Tyson Fury who has been vocal about his own mental health. Despite the vocal minority who has spewed negativity about Garcia, the majority of fans and people supported Ryan which showed other boxers – and even regular people – that it’s ok to speak up if you’re not feeling ok.