By Oli Gamp For Mailonline
Published: 23:58 GMT, 8 November 2019 | Updated: 23:58 GMT, 8 November 2019
Billy Joe Saunders has admitted he had to persuade Tyson Fury not to commit suicide when the heavyweight star was going through a dark spell while he was inactive from boxing.
Fury shocked the world after he out-pointed Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg in 2015 to claim every heavyweight strap and end the Ukrainian's reign of dominance.
But the super stardom that resulted from the stunning win took its toll on Fury, leading to weight gain, depression and drug use.
Tyson Fury fell out of love with boxing shortly after out-pointing Wladimir Klitschko in 2015
The 'Gypsy King' said he was finished with boxing on a number of occasions and was candid about his mental health struggles, later having his boxing licence suspended after testing positive for cocaine.
And super-middleweight boxer Saunders, a close friend of Fury's, has lifted the lid on the extent of the fighter's pain, saying the pair had a heart-to-heart after two weeks in Marbella in 2016 and introduced him to a new trainer in Ben Davison.
'I called him on a Thursday and told him I would book him his ticket and he would be with us by Saturday,' he said. 'But then he rang up on Friday and tried to make excuses to pull out.
'He walked through the airport arrivals and I thought, '"F****** hell", I did not even recognise him. That night we sat down and chatted for about two hours. He was talking about suicide and I said, "Why the f*** are you talking about suicide to me?"
'I said, "If you