With a name like Tyson, our man was surely destined to be a heavyweight boxing champion.
Tyson Luke Fury came into the world on August 12 1988, a time when his namesake Mike Tyson was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and the ‘baddest man on the planet’.
Tyson’s father Gypsy John Fury, himself a former heavyweight boxer, said his son was so small at the time he could fit him in the palm of his hand. There was little sign that he’d grow into the 6ft 9in, 18 stone giant he is today.
So Tyson has boxing in his blood. He hails from Irish traveller heritage, is a distant relative of the famous bare-knuckle fighter Bartley Gorman, and has uncles and cousins who have been involved in the fight game too.
Young Fury grew up in Cheshire and began his amateur career at 15, winning gold at the European Junior Championships in 2007. But he lost out to David Price for a spot on the Great Britain Olympic team in Beijing in 2008 and decided to turn professional.
Fury’s first pro fight, against Hungarian Bela Gyongyosi, aired live on ITV on the undercard of a thrilling Carl Froch world title bout in December 2008. Young Fury won in the first round. By then, Tyson had married Paris Mullroy and moved to Lancaster to live in a caravan at his Uncle Hughie’s house in Skerton.
Fury continued to appear on television, including in his fourth pro bout in March 2009. Tyson beat Lee Swaby, but not before accidentally uppercutting himself in the face – which has since become a much-watched clip on YouTube.
By November 2009, Tyson was ready to challenge for the English Heavyweight Title. His performance against John McDermott was disappointing but Fury still took a clear decision victory. Seven months later, Tyson was more impressive as he stopped McDermott in a rematch.
In July 2011, Fury had won 14 consecutive fights and faced his fellow undefeated contender, Dereck Chisora, for the British and Commonwealth Titles. Tyson outworked Chisora to take a clear points win. Two months later, he stopped the journeyman Nicolai Firtha in Belfast, then moved on to a fight with undefeated Neven Pajkic at Event City, Manchester, in November 2011. Fury began poorly. The crude Pajkic put him on the floor with a big right hand in round 2 and this was a wake-up call. Tyson was stung into action, floored the Canadian twice and stopped him in the next round.
In April 2012, now settled in a new home on Osborne Road, Morecambe with Paris, daughter Venezuela and new-born son Prince, Tyson gave an impressive display, boxing southpaw to outclass and stop the rugged Martin Rogan in five rounds to win the Irish Heavyweight crown. Then in a WBC Final Eliminator that December, he looked trim and disciplined as he completely outboxed cagey American Kevin Johnson for his 20th victory.
Fury’s next fight was his American debut. His opponent, the former two-time World Cruiserweight Champion Steve Cunningham, a durable and skilled adversary. Tyson’s uncle Peter was not in his corner that night in April 2013 at Madison Square Garden, New York. So after dominating the first round, Fury became slack. Cunningham flattened him in Round 2 with a looping right and viewers on Channel 5 thought the brash Brit was done for. But Tyson got up, fought back, and eventually ground Cunningham down to earn a brutal KO in round seven.
Tyson was next due to fight former world champion, the hard-punching David Haye, in a much anticipated grudge match. But ‘The Hayemaker’ twice pulled out due to injury. Fury was kept out of action for 10 months before stopping Joey Abell in February 2014.
Next, he was to face Chisora in a rematch, but the Londoner also withdrew due to injury. Tyson himself then pulled out of a July 2014 replacement date with Alexander Ustinov, when his uncle Hughie was taken ill and later, passed away.
Fury eventually faced Chisora in a rescheduled bout for the European Title and gave his most complete performance to date, forcing his opponent to retire before the 10th round. His most recent fight was a dominant victory over Christian Hammer at the O2 in London in February.
Next, comes Klitschko. And the chance for Tyson to realise his destiny.