Tyson Fury headed into the biggest fight of his life in November 2015 knowing facing the formidable Wladimir Klitschko was not only a world title battle but a war with himself.
The 30 year-old had been suffering from mental illness for some time and only the thought of becoming world heavyweight champion was keeping him going.
That goal and desire burning through Fury since birth kept him as much on the straight and narrow as he could be when nursing dark thoughts and the constant urge to go off the rails.
Fury duly did the unthinkable to end Klitschko’s ten-year dominance and take all four world championships for himself.
Achieving his lifelong dream was complete, but as Fury explained to Mike Tyson in a recent HotBoxin’ Podcast interview, it soon turned into a nightmare.
“I suppose I suffered with depression and anxiety my whole life. From being a little boy to being a man,” revealed Fury. “But, I always had a goal of becoming heavyweight champion of the world.
“It always brought me back out of the darkness to achieve that goal and nothing else mattered. I had a lot of tragedy in my life and a lot of stuff happen.
“All that maybe could have put me off track of becoming heavyweight champ, but I always side-tracked all of that and concentrated on the job in hand.
“When they said ‘right, you’re going to fight Klitschko for the world championship’ I was like ‘Hmm. When I win, I’m not going to have a goal anymore’.
“So I almost knew going into the fight that I was going to come down. That it was going to be a disaster.
“I was very depressed going into the fight, going into training camps. I knew I was going to beat this guy. But I remember saying to my dad and brothers ‘Win, lose or draw, I probably won’t fight again after this’.
“They were like ‘You’ve boxed all your life to get to this position and you’re just going to walk away?’ I was like ‘You know what? I’m not feeling it anymore’.
“But I look back on it and I was very ill going into that fight. I wasn’t well-minded.”
Astoundingly, Fury stated the euphoria of ruling the sport’s glamour division only lasted a matter of minutes.
“Goes in there, beats him. For five minutes, I was happy and when I got back into the changing room I was like, ‘Is this it?’
“I’ve won five world title belts, I beat the second-longest reigning heavyweight champion in history, what next? I don’t have a purpose anymore, I’m finished!”
Fury would spend the next two and half years on self-destruction before eventually losing the weight for his current comeback.
Bidding to win another world title at the second attempt, Fury will take on Deontay Wilder in a rematch during the first half of 2020.
Listen to the full podcast with Tyson Fury and Mike Tyson speaking to a host of other names HERE