Tyson Fury, AKA the Gypsy King, joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about his latest book Gloves Off and his incredible career so far.
Gloves Off is the boxer’s third book and covers his life to date, including his biggest battles (both mentally and physically), his family life and highlight moments during his time in the industry.
As he recalls in Gloves Off, Tyson wanted to be a boxer from the age of five and when he got to 14, his Dad finally let him give it a go after a particularly impressive sparring session.
He told Chris: “My Dad…he was a boxer and he didn’t want us to box. He was like ‘Do something else for your life.’ But I really wanted to box so he said ‘Let’s have a little spar and see if you’re any good.’
“My Dad’s got 14 pro fights, so we got in the garage and had a little spar around and I ended up hitting him with a body punch and I ended up breaking through his ribs at 14 years old.”
Tyson is now a two time heavyweight champion and has won 33 professional fights with 24 knockouts and has only ever drawn once. Despite these incredible achievements, however, he admits some of his biggest battles have been the ones with his mind.
In his book, Tyson talks candidly about the mental health struggles he has faced, particularly when making the decision to retire temporarily from the sport.
He told Chris: “In April this year, I thought I would retire for good, but I wasn’t ready. I retired for a few months and I was very down- I went back to depression. I know sooner or later I’m going to have to deal with it and get through it but what I’m going to do next time is have a full time job to go into rather than just moping around thinking, ‘I used to be a boxer’.”
He added: “I think you learn with experience how to cope more with your mental health struggles. For me, I set short term goals, and I’ve got a really good routine that I stick to. I like to train daily, I like to eat well, just keep myself busy all the time from the moment I wake up in the morning till the moment I close my eyes. That’s the way I like it.”
It was this inability to sit still that got Tyson back into the ring when he retired in 2015. It only took three years before the Gypsy King was back and defending his title as Heavyweight Champion against Deontay Wilder.
Tyson recalls the moment he decided he was going to return to boxing which came after a Halloween party in 2018.
He said: “I remember scrolling down Instagram while I was walking and I saw Deontay Wilder say in a video ‘It’s a pity that we never saw Tyson Fury vs. Wilder, and now he’s in a state, he’s a miss. He’ll never come back to boxing.’ And I thought, ‘I’m going to come back and I’m going to come back for you, son.’”
Come back he did and as Tyson says it was “against all odds” that he succeeded in the ring during those fights. The pair fought first in December 2018, which ended in a draw. They met again in 2020 and Tyson won, but Wilder took him to court and the pair had another rematch in 2021 where Fury succeeded once again.
Speaking about that incredible fight, he said: “I made the comeback thinking I’d just be happy to be well again, never mind box or be professional or anything like that. I just wanted to get well again. So only a few years later, to be back on top as a two time World Heavyweight Champion- it was an amazing amazing story.”
Things in Fury’s personal life were not plain sailing at the time either, as he recalls to Chris his daughter Athena, who was only a baby, was seriously ill and in hospital just before his fight with Wilder.
He said: “There were times where we thought we lost her. Now she’s a perfectly healthy beautiful little girl and she’s obviously got a special part of the fighter in me.
“I only had four weeks training for that fight, the biggest fight of my life. I trained for four weeks and the week before that I was in the hospital in Liverpool laying on the hospital floor with a child who I don’t know if she’s coming or going. It was a tough time.”
There have also been some incredible, happy moments in Tyson’s career as well and there is one pre-fight moment in particular that he will never forget.
When asked what that moment was, the boxer said: “You know, I think the Wembley fight with 94,000 people recently in April after the Dillion White fight. Getting on stage and singing American Pie to everybody- it was just an epic moment. I’ll remember it forever.”
He joked: “It’s quite fitting because they had Ed Sheeran there and I sang to more people than him and I sang to more people than Adele.”
To hear more of these amazing stories, Gloves Off by Tyson Fury is out now. For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.