LONDON Britain's world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury has been drinking and using cocaine to help him deal with depression, he told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview released on Tuesday.
"I've been out drinking, Monday to Friday to Sunday, and taking cocaine. I can't deal with it (depression) and the only thing that helps me is when I get drunk out of me mind," he said.
"I've done lots of cocaine. Lots of it. Why shouldn't I take cocaine? It's my life isn't it? I can do what I want ... That ain't a performance enhancing drug.
"I never took other drugs, ever, in me life. I only started to take cocaine in the last few months," added the WBA and WBO champion, who said he stopped using the drug on Oct. 1.
Fury's representatives were not immediately available to comment when contacted by Reuters.
ESPN reported last week that Fury, 28, had tested positive for cocaine, citing a leaked letter sent by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA). VADA declined to comment and Reuters was unable to verify the details of the report.
Asked by Rolling Stone if he was clean when he was fighting, Fury said: "No drugs at all, no drugs at all. I have never ever taken a drug to help me boxing in my life. Never took a performance enhancing drug ever."
Earlier this year, Fury was charged with a doping offence by UK Anti-Doping after a urine sample from February 2015 - nine months before he beat Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA and WBO world titles - showed traces of the banned stimulant nandrolone.
"If I tested positive in February 2015 for drugs why let me fight the long reigning champion and leave him of all his belts in November? Why not strip me in February?" Fury told Rolling Stone. It was 40-year-old Klitschko's first defeat since 2004.
Fury, who has always protested his innocence, is suing Britain's anti-doping and boxing authorities.
He was due to defend his titles against Ukraine's former champion Klitschko in July but pulled out with an ankle injury. The fight was rescheduled for this month but had to be postponed again due to an unspecified medical condition.
Fury's uncle and trainer Peter Fury said recently the boxer was "almost at breaking point" and receiving professional help.
Asked if he had pulled out of the Klitschko fights because he had not been training due to depression, Fury said: "To be honest yes. I've not been in the gym for months. I've been AWOL.
"I've been out drinking, anything to get me mind off what's been going on to me. You wouldn't understand it if I told you.
"They say I've got a version of bipolar. I'm a manic depressive," he added.
Fury said he had abandoned his training camp in the Netherlands in May and had not trained since.
(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Peter Rutherford)