"I tried to kill myself several times": Former boxing champion Ricky Hatton discusses struggle with depression

The former light-welterweight and welterweight world champion spoke to the BBC about his battle

BY Cian Roche 15:00 Thursday 29 December 2016, 15:00 29 Dec 2016

Image: Adam Davy PA Archive/PA Images

Former boxing world champion Ricky Hatton has revealed how he attempted to take his own life on numerous occasions during his battle with depression.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, the former light-welterweight and welterweight world champion shared his struggle with depression and insisted more needs to be done for boxers once they have finished their careers.

"I tried to kill myself several times," the 38-year-old said. "I used to go to the pub, come back, take the knife out and sit there in the dark crying hysterically."

Hatton was stripped of his boxing license in 2010 after admitting to cocaine use and retired the following year before returning for one final bout with Ukranian, Vyacheslav Senchenko. Hatton went on to lose the fight and hung up his gloves for good.

"There were times when I hadn't had a drink for days and I'd still come home and if something went through my mind I'd start pondering something. It was the same outcome whether I was having a drink or wasn't having a drink.

"But in the end I thought I'll end up drinking myself to death because I was so miserable.

"I was coming off the rails with my drinking and that led to drugs. It was like a runaway train."

Ricky Hatton celebrates defeating USA's Paulie Malignaggi during the IBF Light-Welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas. Image: Dave Thompson PA Archive/PA Images

Hatton added: "Footballers have an agent who looks out for them and a football club that gets behind them. The Football Association and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) can also be there.

"Whereas boxers, it's like once your time has gone it's 'on your way' and move on to the next champion coming through.

"The thing is with boxers, we don't come from Cambridge and places like that, we come from council estates. So in boxing it's very, very hard. If boxing had a professional boxing association or something like that, I think it would be a better place.

"It seems to be happening more with boxers. It's an individual sport so you get in the ring on your own and then when you retire you tend to spend the rest of your life on your own."

The most recent high-profile example of mental health issues in the sport would be former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who's battle with depression forced him to vacate his titles ahead of a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko.

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