Boxing authorities should fund a new foundation to help fighters with mental health issues, says Barry McGuigan.

The former world featherweight champion, 55, wants the new body to pay for treatment where needed.

“It should happen sooner rather than later because we don’t want a fatality on our hands,” said McGuigan.
Tyson Fury
World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has revealed he is suffering from depression and has taken cocaine to help him deal with the issue.

McGuigan told BBC Radio 5 live the sport has “been blind” to elite athletes suffering mental illness, adding he is “genuinely concerned” about Fury.

Boxing promoter Frank Warren agreed with the Northern Irishman that there should be “some sort of programme”.

He added: “It’s the guys at the lower echelons of the sport who don’t earn the big money who need the help.”

Unbeaten Briton Fury faces losing his licence after admitting to Rolling Stone magazine he has taken cocaine.

Fury reportedly pulled out of his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko on 29 October because of mental health issues.

On Monday, the 28-year-old Briton tweeted to say boxing was the “saddest thing” he had taken part in and suggested he was retiring from the sport, before retracting his decision a few hours later.

Middleweight Billy Joe Saunders, a close friend of Fury’s, says the heavyweight boxer is in “a bad place”, while WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew said Fury “is not well” and “needs help”.

IBF president Daryl Peoples said the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) should strip Fury of his licence “so he could focus on getting himself better”.

McGuigan, who criticised Fury in May for making homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic comments in a video, said he would be “happy to help in whatever way” he could, including heading a mental health clinic for boxers.

“The health of the boxers is really important to me,” he said. “There is no help available to boxers for depression and mental health issues which is something I really want to concentrate on.

“There are colossal sums in some of the fights and there is plenty of money available, of which some should be set aside for mental health issues. We definitely need to address it.

“Maybe it is time for all the sporting governing bodies to sit down and start thinking about a clinic of some kind which is available. We need to do it for a cheap rate for guys who don’t earn a fortune.”

Warren said Fury had “done some very stupid things” that he had to be accountable for, but added there needed to be a greater understanding of mental health problems.

“It happened many years ago with Frank Bruno when he was sectioned. I can remember a newspaper calling him a loony,” he said.

“That’s the society we live in, they feed off of it.

“In Tyson’s case he has an audience and maybe it was a cry for help in some ways.”