This self-styled Gypsy King’s story has all the ingredients of a pot-boiler. He was made to leave school at 11, earns his living by beating the pulp out of people inside a ring, has served a drug ban, wants to help homeless, does his own shopping and feels most secure at home.
Tyson Fury was born three months premature; his father named him Tyson after the then world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. When at 11, the long periods of absence were followed by a vanishing act, his friends and everyone in the village of Styal assumed that nomadic roots had again caught up with the family.
His father, continuing with their Irish traveller heritage and beliefs, thought that when a boy was big enough to play a part in the family work he, by all means, should. As he started helping his father in building the house, there was no formal education for the boy after that.
The blood beckons
Boxing seemed a natural next. The Fury family had a history in boxing. Tyson used to accompany his father who competed in the 1980s as ‘Gypsy’ John Fury. He had started as a bare-knuckle fighter like many of his predecessors and then an unlicensed boxer before turning pro.
As Tyson started training with his uncle in Morecambe, he seemed set on living up to his name. But father’s imprisonment for gouging a man’s eye out and the uncle’s strictness almost had him clean slating boxing from life. Fury Sr. intervened and the junior started moving from gym to gym and trainer to trainer in England and Ireland before making his pro debut in 2008.
Perhaps it was the effect of meeting the woman who would later become his wife, Paris Mulroy, as early as 15 that Tyson could miraculously cross over from the gypsy way to more conventional way of life. He does the school run, goes shopping for home, performs the role of papa bear for his family, and wants to build homes for the homeless if the local council could give him some land.
Of highs and lows
But there was a time in 2015 when after beating Wladimir Klitschko and becoming unified world heavyweight champion (WBA Super, IBF, WBO, IBO, Lineal and The Ring heavyweight titles), Tyson lost the track. With nothing more to fight for, suicidal thoughts, depression, obesity and cocaine got the better of him.
Perhaps had it not been for the real fighter in him, the journey from that to the recent performance against Deontay Wilder might not have been. And, again it was the home in Styal that he went to after the fight.