Boxing News - - Contents -

Tyson’s early days in the sport set him on the road to world ti­tle glory

Matt Bozeat re­flects with Tyson Fury and co about the night where it all be­gan

IT was the sort of name you don’t for­get, the sort of name that de­mands an ex­cla­ma­tion mark.

Tyson Fury was com­ing to box in Hinck­ley, just a few miles up the road from my flat in Le­ices­ter’s West End. Who­ever he was. “I went in the cor­ner with a boxer called Phill Fury when he boxed on a club show in Birm­ing­ham, he liked what I did and started box­ing for us,” re­mem­bered Nick Grif­fin, head coach at Heart of Eng­land ABC.

“He made the trip down from Pre­ston and ev­ery now and then he would bring his cousin with him and he had a few train­ing ses­sion with us.

“When he was ready to box, I got him matched on our show...“

The first match­maker Tyson Fury ever had was his big brother, John.

“My brother set me up to fight my nextdoor neigh­bour,” Tyson re­mem­bered.

“I was nine years old and he was 11. They just wanted to know who would win, so we had a fight. My trousers kept fall­ing down and ev­ery time I moved to pull them up, he punched me in the face.”

Fury de­scribes that fight as “a draw” and his first spar was also tough. He says that as a teenager, his twin pas­sions were chick­ens and box­ing.

“I used to love chick­ens and used to breed them,” he said. And when he wasn’t do­ing that, he was watch­ing box­ing.

“We would spend hours de­sign­ing box­ing kits and spar­ring each other when we were grow­ing up,” he said. “I have al­ways watched box­ing videos. I’ve got hun­dreds of them. I’m a box­ing en­cy­clo­pe­dia.”

As he re­mem­bers it, Fury was 14 years old when he first went to the box­ing gym.

“I re­mem­ber the lo­cal hooli­gan telling me there was a gym a cou­ple of miles away and I didn’t be­lieve him,” said Fury, whose fa­ther John was a pro heavy­weight. “I thought I would have heard about it.”

The gym was the home of Ring­way Am­a­teur Box­ing Club and at their star heavy­weight, known as “Big Lewis.” “I was made to spar him and he punched the shit out of me,” re­mem­bered Fury. “My nose was blood­ied and my face a right mess. But I kept go­ing back to the gym.”

Tyson’s un­cle, Hughie, was train­ing a pro­fes­sional heavy­weight and Fury gained con­fi­dence spar­ring him.

“Ev­ery Satur­day I would go over there for spar­ring,” said Fury. “I was nat­u­rally fit and I re­mem­ber think­ing: ‘I can do this.’

“I went back to see ‘Big Lewis.’ He had been the king­pin at the gym for a long time, but I had got bet­ter and he hadn’t. He never went back to the gym af­ter we sparred again.”

By May, 2005, when he was 16, Fury was ready to make his am­a­teur de­but, in the


func­tion room at Hinck­ley United Foot­ball Club’s ground, the Marston’s Sta­dium.

“I re­mem­ber wait­ing to see the doc­tor be­fore I had my med­i­cal and this huge shadow ap­peared be­hind me,” re­called Kieran Pit­man, at the time a cadet am­a­teur and cur­rently a crowd-pleas­ing pro cruis­er­weight.

“I turned round and was look­ing at some­one’s chest. I thought: ‘I hope I’m not fight­ing him’. He wasn’t. Jamie Waddell was fight­ing Fury. “I wasn’t re­ally keen on tak­ing the fight,” ad­mit­ted Ray Rev­ell, Waddell’s coach at Welling­bor­ough Am­a­teur Box­ing Club.

“But I was strug­gling to get Jamie matched and he was al­ways fear­less.”

Pit­man was in no rush to swap places with him.

“Ev­ery­one in the chang­ing room was talk­ing about Tyson, say­ing: ‘Have you seen the size of him?’” he re­mem­bered.

“It was a big chang­ing room and he was dom­i­nat­ing it. He was a mon­ster. Ev­ery­one was talk­ing about him be­fore he even put his kit on.”

Fury left an im­pres­sion on Kyle Hay­wood, now an 8-0 pro mid­dleweight eye­ing a Mid­lands Area ti­tle shot in the New Year.

“He was wear­ing odd boots, one was red, the other blue,” said Hay­wood, “and his shorts didn’t fit him ei­ther. “He looked a real char­ac­ter. “Ev­ery­thing about him was un­ortho­dox. He was a big unit and you just thought: ‘Who is this guy?’

“I asked some­one and they said: ‘That’s Tyson Fury.’ I thought they were jok­ing. It sounded like a made up name, a stage name or some­thing. I mean, who ever heard of any­one called Tyson Fury?” Yet there he was, all 6ft 6ins of him... “Some fight­ers you re­mem­ber,” said Ash Lane, beaten on points by Hay­wood in a cadet bout that night and now the Com­mon­wealth su­per-ban­tamweight cham­pion. “I re­mem­ber Tyson Fury! “It wasn’t just his size, he had a real swag­ger about him as well. No­body knew who he was, but watch­ing him in the chang­ing room, you could tell he thought he was the kiddy!”

Fury eased him­self into the ring and spot­ting my note­book on the ringside ta­ble in front of me, he raised his eye­brows in a friendly ges­ture. “If no­body talked about box­ing or wrote about it, Tyson would find some­thing else to do with his time,” his late un­cle Hughie told me once.

Else­where in the room, Pit­man was mak­ing men­tal notes.

“The lad [Waddell] was tough,” he said, “but Tyson boxed his head off, gave him a box­ing les­son. Tyson wasn’t a mas­sive puncher, but he jabbed, moved and made him miss. I re­mem­ber think­ing: ‘That’s how to use your range. He will do all right, he’s not bad’.” Rev­ell wasn’t a fan. “He was talk­ing to Jamie all the way through the fight,” he said, “try­ing to wind him up.

“He was say­ing: ‘You can’t beat me, you can’t even get near me.’

“I shouted at the ref­eree about it – and I got a telling off!

“I re­mem­ber Jamie say­ing to me af­ter the first round: ‘I can’t get close to him and when he does, he holds.’

“As soon as Jamie came for­ward, Tyson threw out his hands.

“Tyson did box well, he was skil­ful. But I didn’t like him. I thought he was ar­ro­gant and a spoiler.”

Fury handed Waddell a stand­ing count in the last round, but couldn’t force the stop­page – and chaos fol­lowed the an­nounce­ment of his points win.

“I heard they were bet­ting on Tyson get­ting a stop­page in the crowd,” said Hay­wood, “and when the fight went the dis­tance, a big row broke out.”

“That was only my third or fourth am­a­teur fight,” re­mem­bered Sam “Bul­let” Bowen (who makes his first de­fence of the British su­per-feath­er­weight cham­pi­onship against Ron­nie Clark in Brent­wood on De­cem­ber 15).

“I re­mem­ber Tyson was big – and there was trou­ble in the crowd af­ter­wards.

“Some­one got in the ring and tried to give a speech I think and then it went crazy for a few min­utes. Tyson’s op­po­nent was try­ing to push his way through to the chang­ing room and I thought: ‘He’s mas­sive, I had bet­ter get out of his way!’”

Or­der was re­stored af­ter a few min­utes, but the Of­fi­cial in Charge, Bill Evans, de­cided to can­cel the rest of the show.

“I was warm­ing up my lads in the chang­ing room,” re­mem­bered Grif­fin, “and then I had to tell them they weren’t box­ing af­ter all...“

Waddell boxed only twice more, but he did toy with the idea of mak­ing a come­back around 18 months ago.

“Jamie came back to the gym for a few weeks,” said Rev­ell, “but he didn’t stick at it.

“I gave him his am­a­teur card be­cause of the name he’s got on it. He seemed very mat­ter of fact about it. I said: ‘Not many peo­ple can say they boxed a fu­ture world cham­pion and you’ve got the proof.’

“Jamie didn’t seem very both­ered. I think he’s still upset that he lost.”


PO­TEN­TIAL: There’s al­ways been some­thing about Fury. Here, he beats Rep­ton’s Damien Camp­bell


RANGEFINDER: That Fury jab has al­ways been im­pres­sive

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.