In a really candid interview with Donald McRae of The Guardian, 23-year-old British heavyweight champion Tyson Fury talks about Saturday's fight with Neven Pajkic (which is for Fury's Commonwealth belt) and his own struggles with depression.
On the Pajkic fight:
"I went on national TV in Canada and said exactly what I thought of Pajkic. I'd watched his fight and thought it was rubbish. From there it went really personal. He started calling me and my family names. I know this is terrible and I shouldn't say it, but I'm in the mode to do serious damage. When I go in there I'm trying to put my fist through the back of his head. I'm trying to break his ribs and make them stick out the other side. I don't like this kid. This kid has said some terrible things."
Fury (16-0, 11 KO) is a talker. He admits in the interview that he likes to talk. But he and Pajkic really have had some back-and-forth. Here's the promo for Canada's SuperChannel, which will be airing the fight along with England's Channel 5:
After that quote, comparisons to the man from whom his first name came (Mike Tyson) will be inevitable. But there may be more comparisons than just a habit of saying violent things in interviews.
For years, Mike Tyson struggled with his own psyche and mental well-being. At times, it got the best of him. These days, Tyson is a different man. But Fury says that he has his own battles with depression, and what sounds like bi-polar disorder:
"There is a name for what I have, where, one minute I'm happy, and the next minute I'm sad, like commit-suicide-sad. And for no reason – nothing's changed. ... I think I need a psychiatrist because I do believe I am mentally disturbed in some way. Maybe it was the fact that when I was a kid we didn't have a family life. My mother and father were always shouting and screaming and hitting each other. My dad had different women and different kids down the road. My mum had 14 pregnancies – but only four of us survived. We had a little sister born for a few days and she died. There had to be a funeral. That would affect you."
Fury's father is currently in prison for assault, but Tyson says he's got no criminal record and has never had a fight outside of boxing. And boxing, he says, offers him respite from his everyday life, a place where he feels relaxed and in his element.
Fury is a talented young man with the gift of gab to go with his boxing skills. Though he's imperfect in the ring (who isn't?) and is bound to lose some fights along the way, I think he has genuine star quality. It would be a real shame to see him lose all of that for something that he can get under control with some professional help, so I hope he seeks that out soon.
Fury vs Pajkic is live this Saturday on Channel 5 (U.K.) and SuperChannel (Canada) at 4:45 p.m. EST.