Tyson Fury is back! Back on the cover of Square Mile, back chasing history as he attempts to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

Standing in his way is the formidable Oleksandr Usyk. Fury dethroned the legendary Wladimir Klitschko; emerged triumphant from his epic trilogy with Deontay Wilder; knocked out Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 people. But make no mistake: this is the fight that will define his career.

Intriguing parallels can be drawn between the two protagonists. Fury and Usyk are both men of family and of God. Both are skilled boxers in a division where brute power often pays the bills. Both have come to represent something greater than themselves: Usyk embodies the resistance of his beloved Ukraine against the Russian invasion while Fury is an inspiration to millions who struggle with mental health.

Last year, Fury further solidified his celebrity with the Netflix documentary At Home with the Furys. However, he flirted with disaster in his bout against MMA fighter Francis Ngannou, climbing off the canvas to win by split decision.

Yet the Ngannou fight was primarily a money spinner; this is the real quiz. The stakes are nothing less than sporting immortality. Talk is over. Destiny awaits.

Square Mile: This will be the first fight for the undisputed heavyweight championship since 1999. How do you think the young Tyson would look at you now – and what you’re about to embark upon?

Tyson Fury: The young Tyson Fury always believed he’d be rich and famous and successful at boxing. Always. Without the belief you can never achieve it anyway. So I always believed it right from the beginning and I’m only doing what I always believed I’d do. I’ve already done what I believed I’d do. This is just icing on the cake.

SM: You’ve been fighting for 16 years…

TF: Yeah, this year. Shocking, isn’t it?

SM: That’s insane. Did you always think you would reach this stage?

TF: All along? Yeah. Always believed I’d be heavyweight champion of the world.

SM: Why do you think that the stars have aligned now? There have been other times in history where undisputed could have happened between other fighters and it didn’t work out. It’s happening for you and it’s happening now. Why is that?

TF: I just think everything’s meant to be and we’re here for a reason. The stars have aligned and two fighters have happened – and I believe it’s the fight of the century.

Square Mile

SM: While we’re talking about stars aligning, how is your faith at the moment?

TF: Good. Got a great relationship with God. Read my Bible every day. Happy days. Without God, nothing’s possible. With God, everything’s possible.

SM: I think about you when I do my prayers walking down the street. You said that you don’t necessarily go to church but you pray up to ten times a day.

TF: Yeah, sometimes! We’ve all got a lot to be thankful for because when you’re thinking straight and you’re healthy and strong then you got a lot to be thankful for. A lot of people are worse off than you.

SM: The last time I saw you was before the Dillian Whyte fight. Since then, what have been the highlights? What are the key things that have led you from here to now?

TF: Since that fight? I had a brief six month retirement. I wrote my third book; gone on a number one Netflix documentary. I got another dog. I’ve had another child. And I’ve had two more fights since then. What else?

SM: That’s a lot. You are the ultimate showman. You know how to sell a fight. What do you love the most about this circus – and what do you like the least?

TF: The highlights are: you get to entertain and have fun and people are watching. And you get paid a lot of money and you get to be on television. Whatever people think success is in life, you get to do all of that here.

And the shit thing about it all is you have to be away from your family for long periods of time – you miss your little kids growing up. But doing this, I’m able to buy them things and take them places and experiences that not necessarily everybody in the world can do. There’s pros and cons to everything.

SM: In the documentary, there was a big question about whether or not your kids could watch you fight. Will you let them come to this fight?

TF: Prince and Venezuela came to the Chisora fight. If it was in England, then I’d say ‘Yeah, come to the fight.’ But it’s six hours away on a plane, and I’m there strictly for business; I’m there to fight and I’m there to do my job and get out of there. So that’s why they won’t be coming to this one. They’ll watch it on TV anyway.

SM: The Dillian Whyte fight was the first time I’ve been to a boxing match in my life.

TF: It was an awesome experience, wasn’t it? 94,000 people. It’ll be a long time before that type of thing happens again.

Tyson Fury against Dillian Whyte

SM: You basically did sell that by yourself. He didn’t turn up to the press conference and you were just doing it entirely by yourself. You almost looked like you were fighting yourself…

TF: It’s amazing the Tyson Fury show rolls on year in, year out. The next stop? Saudi Arabia against Usyk. He’s beat all the other British guys and there’s only me now standing in his way of total domination of Britain, of Europe, of the world! I’m the lone soldier! Last one standing.

SM: Does that pressure ever feel like a lot for you to deal with?

TF: On a daily basis, I want to be able to go out for a coffee, go to Costa, have some toast and just be left alone. But it is difficult to do that. To live a normal life is hard.

But listen, I’m in this position because I manifested it. I’ve worked hard and it’s God’s will. So I’m not complaining at all. I’m anything but normal. To live a normal life is out of the question. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy that I’m part of all this and I’m happy it’s me. I’m the chosen one.

SM: I saw in an interview, you described yourself as having been touched in the brain a bit – like it’s a blessing and to some extent a bit of a curse.

TF: It is, because your life ain’t your own anymore. But I’m healthy, I’m alive, I’m above ground, which is always a bonus. I’m at the peak of my career. The pinnacle.

SM: Away from the circus, how are you keeping yourself grounded?

TF: Do you know what? My life’s very groundhog. Very mundane, very same thing. Day in, day out.

I get up at seven o’clock in the morning; I get the kids up; take ’em to school; come back; sort the dogs out; sort the bins out, pick ’em up from school. Then I go to the gym at about five o’clock; go train; work out; come back; shower; have tea. I’m in bed, out cold, by about 9.30pm – and I do the same thing every day.

Weekends we’ll probably go out for something to eat. Sunday, Paris will cook us a nice Sunday dinner or we’ll go somewhere. Just normal stuff.

I don’t go to these events, I don’t go anywhere. I’m not interested when I’m not doing this. I don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want to be running around the world. I just want to be left alone, and that’s it. And when the next fight comes, I get in gear again – go and do it again.

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury

SM: That Netflix series will have connected you to a whole new audience. How did you feel letting cameras have access to you like that? Did it feel quite natural as a showman or was it uncomfortable for you?

TF: It was unnatural because to have a camera in your face 24 hours a day for a year, it’s an unnatural thing. But I suppose if anyone can do it, I can definitely do it.

But yeah, there are pros and cons. You’re not always in a good mood. You don’t always want to speak to cameras. You don’t always want people around you. So when you have all that every day, sometimes you’re like, ‘I can’t be doing this.’ You just go away.

But you got to keep going. And if you’re doing it for free and you’re doing it for the goodness of your health, if you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to do it. But when you signed a contract and you’re being paid to do something, then if you don’t like it, lump it. You signed a contract. You’ve got to do the job.

SM: Is that how you felt about it?

TF: That’s how I felt about it all. That’s how I feel about most things. It was a good thing because a lot of people took a lot of positives from it and it helped a lot of people; a lot of people watched it. Would I do it again? Never say never, but I’m not in a hurry to do season two.

SM: I thought you were signed for the second season?

TF: I am busy right now doing boxing. When I’ve finished with the boxing, then we can start talking about what I want to do after that. But right now I’ve got Oleksandr Usyk to think about – the Ring of Fire – and I’m looking forward to it.

SM: One of the things we spoke about last time I interviewed you for square mile was how important mental health is for you. People will have seen your experiences first hand on the show and it might have resonated with them. How important is it that you’ve had a platform for this?

TF: Very, very important because I was one of the people who suffered in silence for 27 years and throughout my comeback I wanted to make it very, very open – to show the struggles that I’m going through on a daily basis, documenting all of it. I’ve just tried to use all of it as a positive thing to help other people and help myself.

It’s like a public counselling session. Some people go in a room and speak to somebody on their own. I speak to the world and I know that other people suffering will be helped by the heavyweight champion of the world suffering, also.

So what a powerful position to be in. And what an honour to be there, speaking out and helping people. It’s alright to entertain someone on a Saturday night – but to save people’s lives with what I do? That’s special.

Tyson Fury

SM: It’s great that you’re getting that stuff out there…

TF: I’m always talking about it. Sometimes I feel like I never shut up about it, but I think the more people talk about it openly – the more famous people talk about it openly – the better it’s going to be for everybody. The stigma on mental health is being smashed at the moment. World mental health days and all these things, so much talking about it now. So it’s a lot more open than ever before and I have a lot to do with that.

SM: Do you think that it gets easier with age? Do you get more wisdom and practise dealing with things or does it get harder for you personally? How do you see it?

TF: I just see it as a constant battle. Some days I’m up, some days I’m not. Where I’m in my life or what I’ve done, you’re never too far away from it all being dragged right back down again.

SM: I want to ask about the people that you choose to have around you. How important is it to you to have the same people around you?

TF: For me, I’ve always had the same people. It’s always been my family: my dad and my brothers. The people I’ve been around here today, I’ve been around with ’em for years. Always had the same people, don’t really take newcomers on board.

There’s always that question: why do you want to be a part of Tyson Fury? Because he’s famous or because he’s successful, obviously. So I always think about that side of things. Would this person want to be my friend or want to even know me if I was just a normal person? Probably not.

SM: What are the qualities that you look for in people that you would allow to be in the inner circle?

TF: I don’t really have an inner circle other than my wife and my kid. To me: family, that’s it. There’s work people who you’re associates with – colleagues – and then there’s family, and that’s it. The only people in my inner circle are my family. Because it’s the only people you can trust.

Tyson Fury

SM: People loved your wife Paris in the documentary. Did you expect that?

TF: No, I’m not surprised. Paris is a beautiful person inside. She’s obviously a good-looking woman outside. Well that’s unimportant because if she got run over and she was all cut to pieces or whatever, she’s still my wife. When you’ve been married to someone for 15 years, I don’t know how to say this without sounding horrible as a person, you don’t wake up in the morning think, ‘Oh my god, I fancy this person’ or whatever.

So if I had my leg chopped off or she had her arms chopped off then you’re still going to love that person because you’ve been with them for so long and you don’t see the exterior beauty. You see the inner beauty. And the mother to my kids – seven kids – and someone who’s always there and does all over everything. So I wasn’t surprised the way people have taken to her. She’s a role model for young women.

SM: What are the qualities that you respect the most in her?

TF: Loyalty and her being a mother and a wife. Can a woman get any more props than that? Being a loyal person, being a wife to somebody and being a mother? No, they’re three top qualities.

SM: Do you feel that you have the same level of hunger that you’ve had previously? Do you feel like things shift and change as you’re getting older?

TF: Hunger for what? Love?

SM: Hunger for life!

TF: I suppose when you’ve been sampling the best that life has to offer for the last ten years and nothing’s been out of reach, you don’t look for those things anymore. I’m not looking for a nice steak, I’m not interested in a nice car, although they’re there. Once upon a time, I was a child dreaming, thinking about having a new Range Rover or Porsche, or going on a yacht holiday. They’re all dream things, but when you’ve done them all, there’s got to be something more than that. So what I like to do now is, I like to live.

I enjoy more what we all take for granted in the beginning because we’re always chasing and wanting other things. So what I like to enjoy now is the simpler things in life. I like to enjoy being around my kids, being around my wife, going out on a date with my wife. I like taking the dogs for a walk.

I used to think I want to be heavyweight champion – instead of living for that day, I was looking to the future. I think everyone’s guilty of it. We always want what we haven’t got. And then when we get it, we think, ‘Well, this is nice, but it’s not really what I expected.’ And then we revert back to what we originally had.

Tyson Fury

SM: It must be frustrating when people ask you about the future – what’s next? Like, ‘I’m here today doing this. Why are you asking me about something else?’

TF: People rarely get to grips with how much we’re not promised tomorrow. We could go to sleep tonight and not wake up. So we have to enjoy today. And that’s a fact.

My wife’s uncle and his wife were on holiday in Turkey last week and they went to bed and he didn’t wake up the next day. He was 58 years old. He didn’t suffer from ill health problems or anything. End of.

So you have to enjoy it, do what you like to do, be around people you like and enjoy what you’re doing. There’s nothing more you can do.

SM: Do you feel like you’ve got more of an awareness of mortality? We live in this world of social media where people are constantly onto the next thing. Do you think that you are more connected to mortality than maybe other people might be? Especially with the depression, having felt suicidal in the past…

TF: Having been to the bottom of everything – only place left you can go any lower than I can go is death. So other than dying, I’ve experienced the lows of the lows and the highs of the highs, and the best place of all is somewhere in the middle.

You don’t want to be at the bottom and you don’t want to be at the top. You just want to be in the middle somewhere. That’s a good place to be. If you’re high, really high, there’s only one way you can go – boom, down. And if you’re at the bottom, well you’re on the verge of suicide, so it’s not a good place to be.

Everyone needs to be high at one stage in their life, and at the bottom in another stage of their life. Because if you’re at the bottom, you realise who you are, what you want, what your goals are, what you want to be, and the only way you can go is up. If you’re at the top, it means you’ve got to the top, and the only way you can go from there is down. But the middle ground is the best. You’re not high, you’re not low. Everything’s good.

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SM: When you’re training for a fight, you’ve got a focus, you’ve got your head down, you’ve got discipline. But when you’ve done the fight, even if it’s a high, it becomes a low, right? Because there’s an anticlimax at the end of it; you’ve done the thing and it’s over.

TF: Post-fight depression? A real thing.

SM: How much do you struggle with that these days?

TF: A lot. A lot. Every fight. Always post-fight depression. You have a massive buildup. You’re high as anything. The only one place you can go? Crash. And it takes me a week or so to get back to normal. I’ve had two weeks now [since the Ngannou fight], three weeks on Saturday and I’m coming back around now. It takes me about a week or two to get back to normal.

I’m really low after every fight because of the anti-climax. Bit like waiting for Christmas, getting up for it, and then Christmas is here and it’s gone. You’ve got to wait another year for it to happen again. January blues. Well, that’s my post-fight depression. Takes at least two weeks to come round. Whatever you do.

SM: Where’s your head at right now, preparing for this fight?

TF: Yeah, I’m in a very good place right now. I’m fit as the fiddle. I’m young – relatively young. I’m fighting for the undisputed championship. I’m enjoying what I’ve laboured hard for my whole life.

I want to think about this fight, this fight is a once-in-a-hundred-years fight. So I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. And it’s going to be a long time before we see it again: two undefeated world heavyweight champions fighting for all the belts.

We haven’t seen that for a long time, and it’ll probably be a longer time before we see it again. So I’m enjoying it. I’ve been truly blessed and I’m very, very happy, and I’m in a really good position.

Watch Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk on 18 May on DAZN