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Owen Farrell British boxer Tyson Fury has written about how he lost himself in the character he created for attention.

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British boxer Tyson Fury has written about how he lost himself in the character he created for attention.

OPINION: What do England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson, boxer Tyson Fury and American runner Mary Cain have in common?  It’s not a question you’ll hear at a local pub quiz, but they and other athletes are opening up about their mental illness. Grateful fans dealing with their own issues are listening but what about the people at the top?  

When I first met Tyson Fury he was acting like one of the lads, watching on as his cousin Hughie prepared to fight Joe Parker.  In the past he’d made insulting comments about women and homosexuality and when he went on a foul-mouthed rant after Parker was awarded the fight I felt I had a pretty good idea of the kind of man he was.  But you shouldn’t believe everything you see and hear. 

The Gypsy King has just released an autobiography calledBehind The Mask, and talks about his suicidal thoughts, his ongoing struggle with depression and the role boxing has played.  Fury started playing a part, being arrogant and cocky because the nice guys didn’t get the attention. “I eventually lost myself in this character.” 

Tyson Fury says he is looking forward to his wrestling debut. The professional boxer is due to take on WWE’s Braun Strowman in his first match.

Almost every interview I’ve seen him do in the last year talked about mental illness and urged people to seek help like he did.  The issue is far bigger than most of us realise. Athletes are helping us see that. But as our awareness grows is the support and response keeping up? 

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