Inside the comeback story of Tyson Fury, the undefeated 'Gypsy King' who overcame a depression and shed 112 pounds to be heavyweight champion of the world, twice

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Inside the comeback story of Tyson Fury, the undefeated 'Gypsy King' who overcame a depression and shed 112 pounds to be heavyweight champion of the world, twice

tyson fury
  • British boxer Tyson Fury, aka the "Gypsy King," won his second heavyweight title in Las Vegas on Sunday, 23 February.
  • The fighter, who comes from a long line of gypsy fighters and has struggled with mental health issues, remains undefeated.
  • Here is a look into the rise and fall of one of boxing's most entertaining and interesting characters.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On Sunday 23 February, Tyson Fury became the heavyweight champion of the world for the second time in his career.

The British boxer has overcome addictions to alcohol and cocaine, immense weight gain, and depression before working his way back to the ring.

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Here is a look into his remarkable life and comeback journey.

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Tyson Luke Fury was born three months prematurely on August 12, 1988, in a rough suburb of Manchester in England.

Tyson Luke Fury was born three months prematurely on August 12, 1988, in a rough suburb of Manchester in England.

Fury was born into an Anglo-Irish traveller family, from a 200-year line of bare-knuckle fighters, hence his nickname "Gypsy King."

English travellers, also referred to as "gypsies," live on the road in caravans and temporarily on campsites, Business Insider's Alan Dawson reported.

Fury weighed just 1lb at birth, and doctors did not give him a high chance of survival. His mother, Amber, was pregnant 14 times, but only four children survived, according to The Daily Telegraph. Fury has three brothers.

His father, John Fury, named his son "Tyson" after the then-undefeated heavyweight world champion, Mike Tyson.

His father, John Fury, named his son "Tyson" after the then-undefeated heavyweight world champion, Mike Tyson.

Fury's father told BT Sports that, despite warnings his premature son would not survive, he was confident Tyson would pull through.

"I remember looking at him and thinking, he'll be 7ft tall, 20 stone, he's going to be called after Mike Tyson, and he'll be the heavyweight champion of the world," he said.

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Fury dropped out of school at the age of 10 to help his father and brothers at work, resurfacing roads, dealing cars, and collecting scrap.

Fury dropped out of school at the age of 10 to help his father and brothers at work, resurfacing roads, dealing cars, and collecting scrap.

In the documentary "Road To Redemption", his brother Shane said Tyson was a "very quiet and shy" as a boy. This quickly changed when as he got bigger.

"When he started boxing at 14 years old, he grew confident around that because he was so good," Shane Fury said.

He joined a local amateur boxing club, proving very quickly that he had what he later called "naturally gifted talent."

According to The Sunday Times Magazine, he beat his first-ever boxing opponent easily, because he ran away when he saw how big Fury was.

The first time Tyson put on a pair of gloves to challenge his dad, he broke his father's ribs with one blow. He was just 14 years old, but already 6ft 5in.

The first time Tyson put on a pair of gloves to challenge his dad, he broke his father's ribs with one blow. He was just 14 years old, but already 6ft 5in.

John Fury was initially a bare-knuckle, unlicensed boxer himself, before going professional in the 1980s, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Source: Sunday Times Magazine

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In 2008, Fury signed as a professional with promoter Mick Hennessy at the Crown Plaza in Nottingham. His father trained Fury up until 2011.

In 2008, Fury signed as a professional with promoter Mick Hennessy at the Crown Plaza in Nottingham. His father trained Fury up until 2011.

John Fury stopped that year after being jailed for gouging out a man's eye in a brawl, according to the Manchester Evening News.

He was released in 2015 after serving four years of his 11-year sentence.

Tyson Fury's professional debut came in 2008 when he fought Hungarian fighter Bela Gyongyosi and defeated him by Technical Knockout (TKO) in the first round.

Tyson Fury's professional debut came in 2008 when he fought Hungarian fighter Bela Gyongyosi and defeated him by Technical Knockout (TKO) in the first round.

Over the course of the next seven months, he defeated all of his six opponents by knockout, according to BoxRec.

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In the same year, he married his girlfriend Paris, whom he met when he was 17, and she was 15.

In the same year, he married his girlfriend Paris, whom he met when he was 17, and she was 15.

Paris was also raised in a Gypsy family.

One year later, Fury won his first belt —the English heavyweight title — against John McDermott.

One year later, Fury won his first belt —the English heavyweight title — against John McDermott.

The fight was decided by a points decision, but the referee was heavily criticized and many thought Fury shouldn't have won, according to The Guardian.

Source: BoxRec

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Speaking about how he developed his fighting style when he was young, Fury said: "I was like a sponge soaking everything up. I didn't want to be a big stiff European with my hands up above me face walking forward, I wanted to slip and slide and be a boxer like the American style."

Speaking about how he developed his fighting style when he was young, Fury said: "I was like a sponge soaking everything up. I didn't want to be a big stiff European with my hands up above me face walking forward, I wanted to slip and slide and be a boxer like the American style."

"I wanted to have American-style with European conditioning. That's what I eventually got," he said in an interview for the "Road to Redemption" documentary.

Business Insider's Alan Dawson also suggested that Fury's fighting style is unique to English travellers.

"They typically do all they can to avoid taking a terrible amount of punishment and are not known for their concussive punching.

"Instead, they are technically adept and defensively brilliant. So brilliant, they have a habit of making opponents look foolish," he wrote.

In one of his earlier fights, Fury accidentally landed an uppercut on his own face and became a meme because of it.

In one of his earlier fights, Fury accidentally landed an uppercut on his own face and became a meme because of it.
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In 2014, Fury beat Dereck Chisora to win three minor titles. But he was more focused on another fight. At the press conference after he said: "Wladimir Klitschko, I'm coming for you baby. I'm coming."

In 2014, Fury beat Dereck Chisora to win three minor titles. But he was more focused on another fight. At the press conference after he said: "Wladimir Klitschko, I'm coming for you baby. I'm coming."

At the time, Klitschko was the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight world champion.

Klitschko was unbeaten in 22 fights over 11 years and was making his 19th consecutive world title defense, The Independent reported.

In July 2015, Fury's prediction came true — it was confirmed that he would fight Klitschko in a showdown that would define his career.

In July 2015, Fury's prediction came true — it was confirmed that he would fight Klitschko in a showdown that would define his career.
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Outside the ring, Fury was known for his attention-grabbing antics. At a press conference before the Klitschko fight, the "Gypsy King" arrived in a flashy Lamborghini, wearing a Batman costume.

Outside the ring, Fury was known for his attention-grabbing antics. At a press conference before the Klitschko fight, the "Gypsy King" arrived in a flashy Lamborghini, wearing a Batman costume.

Fury ran around the room to cheers from his family and journalists before insulting his opponent.

"It's a very personal mission for me to rid boxing of a boring person like you. I've fallen asleep listening to you. You have as much charisma as my underpants - zero, none!" he said.

Klitschko said it was the most entertaining press conference of his 19-year career, according to ESPN.

In the biggest showdown of his career, Fury beat Klitschko in front of 55,000 people in the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany. This came as a shock to many since Klitschko was the clear favorite going into the fight.

In the biggest showdown of his career, Fury beat Klitschko in front of 55,000 people in the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany. This came as a shock to many since Klitschko was the clear favorite going into the fight.

Klitschko's perfected jab-and-grab technique was not enough to secure his victory.

Fury had achieved what nobody had done in more than 10 years, according to Business Insider's Alan Dawson.

The English boxer celebrated his win by singing a version of Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" to his wife Paris, according to The Independent.

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But after winning, Fury went on a three-year downward spiral. He turned to drink, drugs, and later said he contemplated killing himself by driving his Ferrari into a bridge.

But after winning, Fury went on a three-year downward spiral. He turned to drink, drugs, and later said he contemplated killing himself by driving his Ferrari into a bridge.

"When I beat him [Klitschko], I didn't have anything more to prove," Fury said in an interview on the popular MMA Show podcast.

"I hit the drink, heavily, on a daily basis. I hit the drugs. I was out all night partying with women of the night and not coming home.

"I didn't care about boxing, about living, I just wanted to die. I was going to have a good time doing it while I was doing it", he added.

As a result, the boxer lost his figure, ballooning to a weight of 400 pounds.

As a result, the boxer lost his figure, ballooning to a weight of 400 pounds.

"There's 500 calories in a pint of beer. And I'd have 18 of those. Followed by whiskey, vodka. Then I'd stop off on the way home and have pizza, kebabs. I was 400-pounds, a drug addict, alcoholic, cocaine was the usual one. Cocaine and alcohol. Crazy drug and alcohol mix.

"I look back on it now and I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change a thing. I needed to be tested to find out what kind of character I was," he was quoted as saying by Business Insider.

As a result, several sanctioning bodies stripped Fury of his titles, The Independent reported.

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During this time, Fury made a series of attacks on Jewish people and the LGBTQ community. He also said: "A woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back."

During this time, Fury made a series of attacks on Jewish people and the LGBTQ community. He also said: "A woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back."

He also added that if he had a sister who was promiscuous he would "hang her."

In a disastrous Rolling Stone magazine interview, he said he was the victim of a "witch hunt" because the "boxing world hated gypsies."

"The only thing that helps me is when I get drunk out of me mind … I've done lots of cocaine. Lots of it," he added.

After Fury was nominated for the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, thousands of people signed a petition to have him removed from the list, and protested in front of the awards ceremony.

He was booed when he arrived, and eventually placed fourth.

He later apologized for his comments, saying: "I've said a lot of stuff in the past and none of it is with intentions to hurt anybody. I apologize to anyone that's been hurt by it."

Source: Sunday Times Magazine

In 2018, Fury staged a remarkable turnaround, getting clean and stepping back into the ring. He lost 112 pounds, quit cocaine, and signed a $103 million, five-fight television deal with ESPN. He also won two comeback fights.

In 2018, Fury staged a remarkable turnaround, getting clean and stepping back into the ring. He lost 112 pounds, quit cocaine, and signed a $103 million, five-fight television deal with ESPN. He also won two comeback fights.

On Halloween 2017, he sat in his bedroom and cried. "I thought to myself, what has my life come to? I've gone from being heavyweight champion of the world to being a fat mess.

"I've just got to change. The next day I got my sweatsuit on and started running, and never looked back."

Seeking recovery, the boxer got professional help. "And after that, I got onto my knees and I begged to God for help. So I have lots of different people to thank. I didn't do this on my own, this was never an alone thing", he said in an interview reported by The Independent.

Source: Sunday Times Magazine

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Fury also became a mental health ambassador. He has been praised for speaking openly about his depression and mental health issues.

Fury also became a mental health ambassador. He has been praised for speaking openly about his depression and mental health issues.

"I ain't just getting into that ring to make myself or my family proud. I'm going in there because people need me. I suffered for years from depression and anxiety and I didn't understand what it was, because I had never been educated about it.

"And if I was suffering then there are people going through the same things as me. I want to help change that." he was quoted as saying by The Independent.

Fury has been dubbed "The People's Champion" because of his openness about mental health, according to The Daily Telegraph.

He's attributed a lot of his recovery to Paris, who was there during his darkest moments. When he's not traveling for work, Fury is now a "full-time, hands-on dad" to his five children.

He's attributed a lot of his recovery to Paris, who was there during his darkest moments. When he's not traveling for work, Fury is now a "full-time, hands-on dad" to his five children.

Speaking to The Sunday Times Magazine, Fury said: "I do the night feeds, change the nappies, get them up and fed and washed and dressed and ready for school every day."

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Fury's estimated net worth is around $30 million. He has a collection of luxury cars, including a personalized Rolls-Royce Phantom worth around $464,000 and a Ferrari California.

Fury's estimated net worth is around $30 million. He has a collection of luxury cars, including a personalized Rolls-Royce Phantom worth around $464,000 and a Ferrari California.

Fury especially loves Ferraris. He owns a GTC4 Lusso, a Portofino, and a GTC supercar worth around $387,000, according to the Daily Mirror.

Source: Celebrity Net Worth, Daily Mirror

In December 2019, Fury went 12 rounds with the undefeated WBC world heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder. The fight ended in a controversial draw and a rematch was organized.

In December 2019,  Fury went 12 rounds with the undefeated WBC world heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder. The fight ended in a controversial draw and a rematch was organized.

In the crowd's eyes, Fury had been robbed, according to Sunday Times Magazine. It was "a complete injustice", he later said. "Disgraceful."

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On February 23, the "Gypsy King" faced Wilder again in one the most anticipated rematches in its history. Known for his theatrical entrances, Fury came into the Arena in Las Vegas on a golden throne, wearing a crown.

On February 23, the "Gypsy King" faced Wilder again in one the most anticipated rematches in its history. Known for his theatrical entrances, Fury came into the Arena in Las Vegas on a golden throne, wearing a crown.

Before the rematch, Fury weighed in at 273 pounds, the third-heaviest weight of his professional career, according to ESPN.

According to Business Insider's Alan Dawson, the boxer said he was preparing for the match by masturbating seven times a day and dipping his fists in gasoline.

In an "aggressive masterclass" performance that lasted seven rounds, Fury finished Wilder and won and his second heavyweight championship. The "Gypsy King" remains undefeated.

In an "aggressive masterclass" performance that lasted seven rounds, Fury finished Wilder and won and his second heavyweight championship. The "Gypsy King" remains undefeated.

As Business Insider's Alan Dawson wrote: "The Gypsy King rules again."

Source: Business Insider

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