The former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has lashed out at his long-time rival Tyson Fury accusing him of using his ‘mental illness issue’ to build his US profile.
The 30-year-old Fury came back to the ring in June 2018 having gone two years without any boxing action, after a well-publicised battle with depression and substance abuse.
The self-acclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ revealed he thought of suicide following his very surprising win over Wladimir Klitschko in Germany in November 2015.
Fury has since become an advocate for mental health awareness.
Following two consecutive warm-up fights Fury looked to have earn a decision win over Wilder in Los Angeles last December despite being dropped on the deck twice late in the fight, but the fight was eventually ruled a split draw.
The WBC immediately ordered a rematch but that fight was nixed on the bud as a result of the deal Fury signed. A lucrative co-promotional deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank that would see his future bouts broadcast on ESPN. Wilder’s fights are shown on rival network Showtime.
Fury has had just one fight ever since, a second-round knockout of less-known German Tom Schwarz in his Las Vegas debut. Wilder has comw out to slam Fury’s stance on mental health, claiming he is “beating a dead horse”.
“The only thing he really has to let go of is beating a dead horse with the mental illness thing, that’s it,” Wilder told 78SportsTV.
“But he’s going to find in America that this type of news is yesterday’s news, its an old story, in America we want something fresh and what’s new. “There are millions who have faced this illness. “It’s a thing that can be overcome, so many people have overcome it, he wants to come up with this story, it’s something he’s holding on to, the mental illness thing is dying out.
“As you can see in his last fight, it tells the whole story, his story paints itself, we know what’s he is trying to do.
“It’s quite pathetic what he’s doing but as inasmuch as people are entertained he’s going to continue to do it, but once it dies down he may change his ways.”
Fury is expected to fight once more this year in New York before facing Wilder in a rematch in the new year. Wilder will be defending his world title against Cuba’s Luis Ortiz in November.
William Kellogg is a veteran writer who’s covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.