HE IS the undefeated heavyweight champion and devoted father of six, with a reported fortune of £130m.
But Tyson Fury, 34, has been plagued by a series of heavy blows that have threatened to derail his career and send him spiraling into addiction.
Yesterday, the Gypsy King revealed his anguish over the death of his cousin Rico Burton, 31, who was stabbed in the neck in a senseless attack on a night out in Manchester.
Posting about the heartbreaking news on his Instagram page, the boxer, who trained with his cousin in his youth, called for harsher sentences for “knife-wielding idiots”.
He added: “You don’t know how hard it is until it’s one of your own.
“Life is precious and can be taken away from you very quickly. Enjoy every moment.”
It is a further blow to the family man who has previously struggled with mental health issues, exacerbated by the tragedy, including the simultaneous loss of a baby and a beloved uncle at the same hospital in 2014.
The one-two punch nearly ended his reign at the top, sending him into a drug and alcohol haze as he battled bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts.
A fighter in more ways than one, he fought from the brink to reclaim his heavyweight title in 2020, but says suffering in silence for years “nearly killed him.”
“I’ve been an alcoholic, I’ve been a drug addict, I’ve been a fat man because I’m addicted to food and there’s not much I haven’t been addicted to,” he told talkSport. last year.
“But I have recovered and I feel better because of it. There is life after mental health, if you manage it, and the last thing we need is for people to give in to mental health.
“It is a fight, it is a battle that we will have to continue fighting and fighting all our lives. But life is worth fighting for.”
As a new tragedy shakes the Fury family, we see how the boxer has recovered from previous low points.
Dad ‘ripped out’ a friend’s eye
A premature baby weighing just 1 pound, Tyson was one of only four survivors of Mommy Amber’s 14 pregnancies.
Dad John, who had already lost two daughters to premature births, named him after then-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson because he survived.
When he was nine years old, his little sister Romana died within days of being born, an experience that has haunted him throughout his life.
Tyson, who dropped out of school at age 11, was trained in the ring by his father, who is also a boxer.
In 2011 he was devastated when John was jailed for 10 years for gouging out a former friend’s eye in a 12-year fight over a beer bottle.
Fury’s uncle, Hughie Fury, stepped in to become his trainer in his father’s absence and the pair were incredibly close.
His father was released from prison in February 2015 and was ringside in his victorious fight against Wladimir Klitschko in Germany that year.
Fury found happiness at a young age with his wife Paris, whom he began dating when they were 16 and 17, and they married in 2008.
The couple have six children, three boys: Prince John James, nine, Prince Tyson II, five, and Prince Adonis Amaziah, two, and three daughters, Venezuela, 12, Valencia Amber, four and one. Athena.
But the couple suffered a devastating loss in 2014, when Paris was forced to give birth to a stillborn baby six months into her pregnancy.
Tyson then revealed that, while supporting her through the ordeal, her beloved Uncle Hughie was dying on the other side of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
The trainer was admitted for knee surgery to place a screw in his leg, which was broken when a trailer drawbar fell on him, but a blood clot traveled to his lung and his heart stopped in surgery, leaving him in a coma for 11 weeks prior. he passed away.
My wife Paris gave birth to a boy at six months who was dead… We were on one side of the hospital and my Uncle Hughie was dying on the other side of the hospital at the same time.
The double tragedy sparked alcohol and cocaine addictions, and saw Tyson pack on the pounds to the point where he was too incapacitated to fight.
“My wife Paris gave birth to a boy at six months who was dead,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “I had to be there when she gave birth.”
“We were on one side of the hospital and my uncle Hughie was dying on the other side of the hospital at the same time.
“I stopped thinking about it. I needed to put it in the back of my mind.”
He added that he bottled up his emotions until after his game-winning clash with Klitschko in 2015, when “everything came crashing down. All the problems I had bottled up just blew up.”
drink and drugs
Battling his “demons”, Fury’s weight skyrocketed to 28th and he turned to drink and drugs, consuming up to 18 pints a day.
A rematch with Klitschko, scheduled for 2016, was postponed twice after Fury was declared medically unfit, amid reports that he had also tested positive for cocaine.
He told Rolling Stone: “I’m going through a lot of personal demons, trying to shake them off.
“I haven’t been to a gym in months. I’ve been going through a depression. I just don’t want to live anymore.
“I have been drinking, from Monday to Friday to Sunday, and doing cocaine. I can’t deal with it and the only thing that helps me is when I get drunk and go crazy.”
At one point he drove his Ferrari onto a bridge at 300 km/h in a desperate attempt to end his life.
He said: “I gave up on life, but as I was heading to the bridge I heard a voice say, ‘No, don’t do this Tyson; think of your children, your family, your sons and your daughter growing up without a father.'”
Loss of the second baby
After relinquishing his world titles and having his license taken away by the British Boxing Board, Tyson sought medical help and was diagnosed with bipolar.
He launched a comeback in 2018 and later revealed that throwing himself into training saved his life.
“I have been able to manage my mental health through training and I use it as medicine,” he said.
“I use a structured routine, like a regimented lifestyle. I like to know what I’m doing. If I have no certainty in my life, everything seems to go without permission. My mind starts to wander and I feel really bad again.”
If I have no certainty in my life, everything seems to go without permission. My mind begins to wander and I feel terrible again.
Just days before her comeback fight against Sefer Seferi in 2018, Paris tragically suffered another miscarriage.
Fearing the effect on his mental health, Paris decided not to tell him until after the fight.
She said: “I was about eight weeks pregnant. Then the day of the fight I found out that she had lost our baby. I didn’t mention it to Tyson before he got in the ring.
“Five weeks later we became pregnant again… We were still heartbroken over our loss, but overjoyed at the same time.”
Athena’s birth last August was fraught with trauma as she “died for three minutes” and was left in intensive care, with Tyson asking fans to pray for her.
The baby was discharged after a few days, leaving the hospital in a onesie with the words: “Fighter like my dad.”
Paris posted the image with the caption: “He had scared us all terribly in his first two weeks of life but luckily he is fit and home.”
fight for mental health
Fury’s return to the top was cemented when he defeated Deontay Wilder to win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship in 2020 and reclaim his throne.
The new tragedy in the boxer’s family is sure to cause him immense pain, but this time, the grieving boxer will open up about his feelings, saying he’s learned that bottling up his emotions never works.
“My mistake was that I just suffered in silence and it almost killed me,” he says. “Then I started looking for medical help, I pray to God I would have done it 15 years earlier.
“I wouldn’t have had to go through a mental breakdown and all the shit I went through.
“I’m on the other side now and I’ve learned to maintain and handle problems and I’m living life.
“I never want to go back to that lonely, dark, horrible, gray place where you wake up every morning and think, ‘Why the hell did I just wake up?'”