Name: Tyson Fury
Known for: Being the former Heavyweight Champion Of The World after beating Vladimir Klitschko in November 2015
Highest reported weight: 171.4kg (27st 0lb)
Current weight: 119.2kg (18st 11)
Weight lost: 122lb
As one of the most controversial Heavyweight Champions in history, Tyson Fury’s place as the Marmite man of the division (some love him, most hate him) is definitely secured. Whatever your own opinion on him, there is no denying that he is one of the most interesting and entertaining characters in the world of boxing today.
With a mouth as big as his height (He’s 6ft 9!), Tyson loves a bit of controversy. However, having defeated Ukrainian powerhouse Vladimir Klitschko in 2015 to become Heavyweight champion of the world, Fury threatened to let controversy get the better of him, and almost let it become a fight he wasn’t going to win.
The past three years has seen Tyson battle drug addiction, severe depression and a dangerously unhealthy weight gain, which led him to give up his titles and be stripped of his boxing license. After admitting to tipping the scales at a whopping 27 and a half stone, many thought he’d never fight again. Despite this, and against all odds, he has managed to turn all of that around and is now well and truly on the comeback trail after dropping an incredible 122lbs in just EIGHT MONTHS to get back to a fighting weight and reclaim a winning mentality.
Here, we profile just how he went about doing it.
Wait, wait, wait – Don’t Boxers gain and lose weight between fights all the time? Ricky Hatton was known for it, and even a well-oiled machine like Anthony Joshua piles on the pounds between fights!
Well, yes, whilst that statement is true, most boxers don’t gain quite as much as Tyson did. Whilst you can’t excuse massive weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle, Tyson had other things going on mentally which I think definitely contributed towards gaining so much weight. It’s well known that binge eating is sometimes used as a coping mechanism, and it could be argued that this was the case with Fury.
In 2016, two weeks before a rematch with Klitshcko was due to take place, Fury asked for it to be postponed due to a supposed injury to his ankle. On 23rd September 2016, the rematch was then officially cancelled by Fury’s camp, after a doctor declared him “medically unfit”. At the time, the promoters did not disclose full details, only saying that the condition was “too severe to allow him to participate”
It later transpired that Fury was suffering from drug abuse brought on by severe depression. As a result, he vacated his WBA Super, WBO and IBO Titles. Not knowing how to properly cope with personal issues, coupled with a ban from fighting meant that Fury piled on the pounds.
In September 2017, just a year after the scheduled rematch with Klitschko was due to take place, he was seen in public for the first time in months, sporting an unhealthy gut and was rumoured to be around the 25 stone mark.
Despite this, he would still regularly declare himself fit and say he’d be back in the ring soon. If he was serious about a comeback, he needed to lose weight – and fast.
So how did he begin his comeback? Did he have to totally start again?
Even under normal circumstances, when a boxer enters a training camp, one of the most important things to get right is the diet, as ensuring a fighter can recover from brutal training regimes is essential. For Tyson, however, shifting the excess weight was the number one focus.
At his heaviest weight of 27 and a half stone, there was no way he was fit enough to fight. He weighed only 17st 8lb for the Klitschko fight, and getting him back down to as near that figure as possible was a task handed to nutritionist Greg Marriot. Greg has worked with Kell Brook in the past, helping him with intense weight cuts, so he was no stranger to getting boxers back on their feet and into the ring.
Greg put Tyson on seven (That’s SEVEN) meals a day totalling 3500 calories. When I read that, I wondered how on earth he was managing to consume that many calories and still lose weight, but as Greg explained to Sky Sports, it actually makes sense:
“He’s on 3,500 calories per day. For example, if you have 1,000 calories but you expend 1,000 calories in the gym, you’re on nil. When you try to cut weight [without enough calories] then you hit the wall, and you fatigue. This is where lots of fighters come unstuck. Tyson needs to be on 3,500 calories a day but, when he’s expending 2,000 calories in the gym, he will need to be on 5,500 calories a day. You can then start cutting weight – this is the healthy way to do it.”
Tyson’s workouts at first were low intensity, and in keeping with that, a Ketogenic diet was put in place. A Ketogenic diet consists of high fats, minimal carbs and some protein. He wasn’t training hard whilst he was heavy, as he was prone to injury, and this was reflected in the diet. Changing Tyson’s mentality was also high on Greg’s list of things to do before he got back in the ring, as, in his own words “You have to be mentally right as well. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter”
So the diet was fixed and the weight was coming off. What about the training?
During the initial training camp with Greg Marriot, Tyson’s close friend and fellow boxer Billy Joe Saunders introduced him to trainer Ben Davison. The pair instantly hit it off, so much so that Davison has actually moved in with Fury!
Davison has spent every day of the last six months with the heavyweight fighter, and has worked extensively to shift the weight he gained
Because his body was so deprived of carbs on the Ketogenic diet, training had to be kept pretty light. Lots of shadow boxing and swimming noodles were involved in a bid to regain Fury’s speed and movement. The pair flew to Marbella (Alright for some, hey?) to step up the training. Speaking to the Telegraph, Davison explained this decision: “Out in Marbella, I tightened the screws a little bit. The diet got a little bit stricter, the sessions got a little more stricter. I threw in a few more sessions that weren’t so enjoyable. I tested where he was mentally and physically. This was January, February . After that, we got the majority of the weight off.”
Fury began sparring again shortly afterwards, firstly against former British heavyweight Dave Allen before moving on to a more experienced opponent in Mariusz Wach (Who fought Klitschko himself in 2012). Impressing in sparring and with him getting back to a healthy weight, a headline fight was announced for June this year.
How did that go?
Ending a two-year exodus from anything is never easy. It took massive balls from Fury to even think about stepping back into the ring after so long away and with all the personal problems that went with it.
An opponent for the comeback fight was found in Sefer Seferi, a 39-year-old Albanian with a record of 23-1 (with 21KO’s).
Fury weighed in for the fight at a weight of 19st 10lbs and 2oz – nearly 5 stone heavier than his opponent! More importantly, though, he was more than seven stone lighter than when he started his training. Regardless of the result, that was a massive win for Fury.
The fight itself wasn’t a spectacle by anyone’s standards. A fight in the crowd gathered more attention than what was going on in the ring! However, Fury did win the fight, after Seferi’s camp ended the fight in the fourth round. A huge step in the right direction.
So what next for Fury?
Immediately after the Seferi fight ended, promoter Frank Warren announced that Tyson would fight again in Belfast on August 18th against an unknown opponent (later confirmed to be Francesco Pianeta). There is now also talk of him fighting Deontay Wilder, a huge match that could potentially see Fury reclaim his former Heavyweight Champion Of The World status.
Tyson continues to train and update fans on his weight loss progress via social media. With Tyson back in the ring, back fighting fit both physically and mentally and back as the centre of attention once again, I’m sure the fights will keep coming. Will he reclaim those titles he had to give up? We’ll have to wait and see.