Northern Ireland news

Road to Tyson Fury's comeback started in Belfast

Tyson Fury in St Paul's ABC gym in west Belfast September 2017

THE road to Tyson Fury's dramatic comeback started in Belfast gyms with local trainers last night celebrating the success of the new WBC heavyweight world champion.

In September 2017, the 23-stone 'gypsy king' chose St Paul’s ABC gym in west Belfast for an intensive training session.

Head coach at St Paul's Ralph McKay remembers him as a "gentleman" and said his win in Las Vegas at the weekend over Deontay Wilder in a thrilling rematch showed his "determination".

"I remember when he came to us he was badly out of shape and he knew he had to get back into health, both in his body and his mind, as he had been through a lot in his personal life," he said.

"Looking at him that day, when he did six rounds on the pads with us and four more on the bags, I did not think he was a future world champion. So to see him come back at the weekend against Wilder shows you the character of the man - when he's now better than he ever was."

Fury (31), who comes from a Traveller background and has family in the north, spent three years out of the ring due to mental health issues after beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.

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He has spoken openly about his battles with depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts, which culminated in him nearly driving his Ferrari off a bridge at 190mph.

Veteran Belfast boxing trainer John Breen also paid tribute to Fury last night and said he "never doubted" he would win a world title after watching him train four years ago.

The 69-year-old, who has worked with five world champions, still runs a gym off the Grosvoner road in the city.

"I met him in 2016 and we got on great. He was in a different class when I saw him box and I always genuinely believed he was going to be champion of the world. I'm delighted for him," said Mr Breen.

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