Exclusive: Tyson Fury has inspired a generation to talk about mental health, says former champion

Bermane Stiverne was full of praise for Tyson Fury as he spoke to Planet Sport about overcoming mental health problems himself ahead of his latest boxing comeback.

Stiverne reached the pinnacle of his sport when he defeated Chris Arreola in 2014 to become WBC heavyweight champion. 

The Haitian-Canadian boxer went on to have two fights with Deontay Wilder and while he was on the receiving end of two losses, he was the first man to take the 'Bronze Bomber' the full distance.

The only other fighter to have gone 12 rounds with Wilder is Fury in 2018, before defeating the American twice in 2020 and 2021 for the WBC title.

At one point a return for Fury was extremely unlikely after spiralling out of control following his 2015 win over Wladimir Klitschko. The 'Gypsy King' ballooned to over 400lbs in weight, was partying most nights on drugs and attempted suicide.

Fury has been open about the depression he suffered, and Stiverne says the Brit has raised awareness for mental health - something he has struggled with himself.

"Absolutely, now that I'm aware of it, I know more about it," Stiverne told Planet Sport when asked if Fury had inspired boxers to open up on their mental health.

"There's a lot of people that are in denial or don't even realise what's going on with them. They only realise when there's something more major happening.

"But I was able to open up to it and accept that I was dealing with mental health. It's not something that's easy to accept. All you got to do is take care of yourself and take care of your mental health.

"This is one of the steps you have to take to be aware and accept the fact and be truthful to yourself."

Wilder and Stiverne

Stiverne continued: "I understand because I went through it without knowing that was even the issue for me. The mental health started right after I was supposed to fight Povetkin, between the Povetkin and the second Wilder fight.

"I was going through my own issues without knowing I was going through mental health. It only takes time for you to acknowledge your issues and deal with it.

"I went through it but I'm way better now and it's one of the main reasons I'm back into boxing. I'm healthier mentally," the 43-year-old added.

Stiverne is set to return to the ring this summer. It will be the first time he has fought since his defeat to Trevor Bryan in August 2021.

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