Tyson Fury urges more openness on mental health issues

'If I can do it, anybody can' - Fury's message on mental health

Heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury has encouraged other athletes to speak out about mental health issues after he confronted his own "terrible" problems.

Fury, 30, shared an epic draw with WBC world champion Deontay Wilder in a title clash earlier this month.

"If I can speak about [mental health] - heavyweight champion, six foot nine, 18 stone tough guy - anybody can," he said at the 2018 Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

"Anybody can get help, for sure."

Fury added that recovering from a 12th-round knockdown against Wilder demonstrated his refusal to be beaten.

"Many men would have stayed down after being knocked down by Deontay Wilder but I wanted to show the world that anything was possible," he said.

"No matter what you've been through in your life and no matter what you're going through, you must always continue to get back up and keep going forward and fight back.

"We need to spread the word on mental health more in sport because a lot of people are still living in darkness and are too afraid to come out and speak about it publicly."

Fury, who could be in line for a rematch against American Wilder, would not be drawn at the event in Birmingham on whether he would fight the WBC champion or Britain's Anthony Joshua, who holds the other main heavyweight belts.

"I've got nothing to say about boxing," he added. "This year has been a fantastic year and I enjoyed every moment of it and I hope the fans enjoyed it as much as I did but I'm just going to go home and spend some time with family and have a great Christmas."

Fury repeated his claims that he should have won the fight against Wilder.

He told Sports Personality host Gary Lineker: "It was a special moment in my career and my life.

"Everybody knows what I've been through - 2018 and 2017 were terrible years. This year I decided to get back to the top of the heavyweight boxing and I sacrificed and dedicated my life to the sport and I should be the WBC heavyweight champion of the world and everybody knows it."