I was watching boxing with a couple friends on a Saturday night last week, something I enjoy doing when I have the opportunity. There were some great fighters with a lot of charisma and the matches were all good. However, there was one fighter who really stood out to me as they were telling his story. They introduced him as Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King.
We all have heroes and people who inspire us. Mine would be my mother, Brett Favre, Daymond John, and Gary Vaynerchuk, among others. I didn’t know much about this man as they were doing the pre-fight promotional videos. He had a goofy personality and loved making jokes. I knew little else about Fury, just that he won the heavyweight title back in 2015 and it was a big upset for the former champion. But as the announcers told his story and how he got here today, I can honestly say he’s now my favorite fighter.
Tyson Fury was born in Manchester, England, but his family has Gaelic/Irish Traveler roots. They also have a long family history of male boxers and fighters. Fury started his professional boxing career in 2008 and slowly rose up through the ranks as he defeated his opponents. He defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to secure the title of World Heavyweight Champion. Fury was supposed to have a rematch with Klitschko in 2016, but it got postponed because he tested positive for a ‘prohibited substance’ and was having personal problems. A month later Fury abandoned his title and left boxing. He was later formally banned and stripped of his title.
You see, Tyson Fury was dealing with drug addiction and depression shortly after he won the title. He told journalists that he lost the meaning of his life, was battling mental health issues, and thought about suicide. He was an alcoholic and addicted to cocaine. He had gained about 100 lbs. because of his depression. Fury was in a dark place and didn’t know if he could escape. His life was spiraling out of control. The man had money and fame but was still missing something vital in his soul. Fury said that he prayed to God one night, with tears streaming down his face, begging for help. After 10 minutes of praying, he stood up and felt the weight of his guilt and depression leaving his body. He later decided that he would re-apply for his boxing license and get back in the ring.
Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? Fury lost the 100 lbs. he gained and was back in shape. He regained his fighting form and was performing at his peak. It took over a year of hard work and training, but The Gypsy King was back. He defeated two prominent opponents in 2018 then decided to take on Deontay Wilder for the title. The fight ended up being a draw, a very controversial decision that I might write about later, and the world was buzzing about Tyson Fury again. After the fight, Fury gave a very grateful and humbling speech about how thankful he was for his life and his belief in God that helped him on his journey. He didn’t have anything negative to say about his opponent, Wilder, and thanked him for being a great opponent and fighter. Both men agreed to a rematch in 2019, something me and millions of people around the world can’t wait to watch! Perhaps the greatest move Fury made was donating his entire $10 million winnings to charity and to build homes for the homeless.
We all have our flaws and imperfections. We do great things but also make plenty of poor decisions. But through hard work and dedication we can rise up and get back in the ring. Tyson Fury reminded me of how fortunate we all are just to be alive. Sometimes we just need a little push, whether it’s from God or a loved one, to get up and keep fighting. No hero is perfect, because none of us are, but The Gypsy King will continue to inspire people with his actions and words.