Tyson Fury’s trainer reckons the world heavyweight champion’s cocaine use was a result of depression.
Tyson Fury became the WBA and WBO champion after impressively defeating Wladimir Klitschko 11 months ago, but a scheduled rematch has twice been postponed and he tested positive for cocaine last month.
Specialist medical support is now being given to Tyson Fury, who is the subject of a British Boxing Board of Control hearing on Wednesday where it will discuss withdrawing his licence.
Peter Fury, the 28-year-old’s trainer and uncle, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek: “Personally I don’t believe he’s had drug issues going back over six months.
“If he’s done something it’s been recent. I don’t think he’s got a drug addiction at all.
“Whatever he’s taken will be a result of the depression. The way he’s been received since he won the world title, to him, in his mind, he wasn’t recognised in anywhere near the way he should have been.
“It’s a combination of all of this that put him into depression.
“He just wants some space totally away from boxing, which is understandable.”
Peter Fury said he and promoter Mick Hennessy asked the boxer about his positive test for cocaine and that Tyson Fury denied using the recreational drug.
Then Tyson Fury spoke to Rolling Stone magazine at length about his troubles, his cocaine use and his desire to commit suicide.
But Peter Fury is uncertain what to believe, as he is convinced some of the interview was untrue.
“There were things in the interview which were not correct,” Peter Fury added.
“He said in his interview that he hadn’t been training at all, he hadn’t done any training for five months, well that’s totally untrue.”
Tyson Fury had been training at his boxing gym in Bolton, Lancashire and at a local members’ sports club, as well as with a strength and conditioning coach, Peter Fury said.
“Just how much is the truth? Your guess is as good as mine,” he added.
Peter Fury had questioned Tyson Fury’s attitude in training and said it was causing “friction”.
“It’s almost like he was an empty shell in the gym,” he said.
Peter Fury reckons his nephew will return to the ring in 2017, but the boxing authorities have decisions to make in the interim.
WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has sympathy for the fighter’s current situation but says a hearing is required over his anti-doping infringement.
Although cocaine use is not banned out of competition, Tyson Fury’s agreement to undergo anti-doping testing in the lead-up to the slated Klitschko fights means that he could still be stripped of his titles.
Mendoza told BBC Radio 5 Live Sportsweek: “It’s very difficult to see a boxer have so much trouble around his personal life.
“I think he should take his time to recompose himself, to try in some way to structure his personal life and then come back to boxing.
“(But) the substance, the cocaine, is on the prohibited list. We will have a hearing. That’s a big trouble for us.
“He signed a contract to participate in this voluntary (testing) programme.
“We say ‘out of competition’ was in the middle of competition, because he was in the middle of training for a fight.”
Peter Fury hopes Tyson Fury’s state of mind is taken into account.
He said they would not contest the boxing authorities if they were to redistribute the World Championship belts, so long as Tyson Fury has the opportunity to fight for them once he is fit and well.
“We’re boxing people and we want to see fights and world champions,” Peter Fury added.
“We’re happy for the belts to be free, providing they can put him in champion in recess.
“As soon as Tyson is ready and able he can step back into it and fight whoever has got the belts and reclaim his title back.
“I think he will be back. I see him back in the gym March, April and I think he’ll resume his career.”