British heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury says he had to get up and keep fighting for mental health sufferers, after being knocked down in the 12th round by Deontay Wilder in their epic fight on Sunday (NZ time).
Early in the final round of their WBC championship heavyweight bout in Los Angeles, Wilder landed a heavy left-right combination on Fury and the Brit fell to the canvas, semmingly unconscious.
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Wilder started celebrating, as he saw Fury's eyes "roll into the back of his head", but as referee Jack Reiss was halfway through his 10-count, Fury got back to his feet to finish the bout, which ended in a controversial draw at the Staples Centre.
Heading into the bout, Wilder had won 39 of his 40 career fights by knockout, so when the Brit rose from the canvas, the 17,698 crowd was shocked.
The fight was Fury's third since returning to the ring after 30 months away from the sport, where he struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, and suffered from mental health issues.
"I had a holy hand upon me tonight and brought me back," said Fury. "I've got a good fighting spirit, you know, I never say die.
"Get back up. You know, even in the 12th round, when I got knocked down heavy, I got back up and probably won the round.
"I fought back from suicide and mental health and depression and anxiety, and I wanted more than anything tonight to show the world that it can be done.
"Anything is possible with the right mindset, if you believe in yourself and you sacrifice, and you dedicate with the right help.
"When I was down, I wasn't just down on the canvas in Round 12 for me and my family. I was representing everybody around the world - I had to get back up.
"I couldn't stay down. I had to get up and show that you can continue, that you can carry on and anything is possible."
Fury insisted he won the fight, but he added he would not "scream robbery" over the result.
Mexico's Alejandro Rochin scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, Canada's Robert Tapper had it 114-112 for Fury and Briton Phil Edwards called it even at 113-113.
"It was a great fight and it was a pleasure, but listen, it was what it was - I enjoyed every second of it.
"I'm not going to sit here and complain all night, scream robbery, this that and the other. I thought I won the fight, but I leave the audience to decide what they thought.
"Two men tried their hardest tonight. Trained our guts out, we trained for 10 weeks, away from our families, put the sacrifices.
"We both came in great shape, very fit - and it showed. I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as we did and I'm sure we're going to put on a great show in the second fight."
Where to find help and support:
Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Samaritans - 0800 726 666
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
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