How Tyson Fury went from being born premature weighing just 1 Ib to 6ft 9in heavyweight champion
BEFORE Tyson Fury ruled the heavyweight division and became the most talked about sports star in the world, he was just another kid growing up in posh Cheshire.
The Gypsy King, who has always spoke fondly of his traveller roots, actually enjoyed a self-confessed affluent upbringing in leafy Styal, Wilmslow, part of the ‘Golden Triangle’ privileged towns and villages that includes Alderley Edge.
He started his education at Styal Primary School, which recently received a glowing Ofsted report and was once visited by Prince Charles.
But from birth, Tyson, 31, had to show the fighting tenacity that has made him the people’s champion.
Born three months premature, and weighing just 1 Ib, his dad John Fury revealed that his son defied doctors, who believed he had very little chance of survival.
However, Tyson grew to 6ft by 14 – earning the nickname “Little John” amongst his pals.
And for his first job aged between 10-16, he worked for his father’s car dealership cleaning motors.
Unlike his family, Fury was raised in a home and not a caravan. In fact, his father built their house with his bare hands.
“We grew up in a posh area called Styal in Wilmslow, Cheshire,” Tyson told The Telegraph.
“My dad provided us with a nice home. I was very privileged as a child.
“We weren’t around all the travellers on the sites. The only travellers we knew were our own family and cousins.”
Through the late 80s to the mid 90s, John Fury competed as a bareknuckle boxer at both amateur and professional level.
He beat WBO World Champion Henry Akinwande, and boasted an impressive record of eight wins from 13 fights.
“I got exploited in the boxing game by being overmatched for little or no money,” he once revealed.
A SICKLY KID
At three months premature, Tyson’s life hung in the balance when he was born in Wythenshawe Hospital.
Medical professionals thought he was too weak to survive, but dad John believed his new-born son was going to pull through.
“I told them God was looking down on him,” he said.
“I said, ‘He’ll be alright. He will be 7ft, 20 stone and heavyweight champion of the world.’ And I named him Tyson, after Mike Tyson.”
John could fit his son in the palm of his hand, and he sat in the hospital with baby Tyson, working his legs and arms.
“I remember he would be lying on his back and have his fists up high,” he told BBC Sport.
“When I think about where he has been and where he has got to, extraordinary things have happened.”
But in his early years, Tyson suffered fevers and thought he was seeing things.
“He used to get hallucinations and thought there were monsters in the house and the curtains were burning,” John recalled.
“When he got to about six he just seemed to straighten out.”
In 1993 Tyson enrolled at the charming Styal Primary School, called “outstanding” by Ofsted.
“The school I went to had 47 kids in it. It was a really posh primary school – Prince Charles even visited us,” Fury said.
And Fury was an exemplary student, according to his former teachers.”There was no racial prejudice or abuse or anything.”
“I think he has always had a positive mental attitude and that has helped him and I am delighted by his success,” Head Teacher Helen Smith told the Knutsford Guardian.
While the school’s business manager Sally Hunt said: “I remember that Tyson was quite a character at a young age.
“He was a big lad and good at sports including football, which the school actively encourages. His mother was always very supportive of the school.
“He was with us from the age of five right through to 11 and was always a popular boy with other pupils.”
HIS FIRST JOB
Working on his dad’s car lot helped Tyson understand the importance of discipline, and he was rewarded for hard graft with money.
Tyson told The Guardian: “My first job was working for my dad. He was a used-car dealer and I used to wash the cars down, clean them out and so on.
“I would do stuff for him pretty much every day, it was quite a good job to be honest.
“It was great for me because it gave me discipline. I know how to work for money and I know how to appreciate it when I’ve got it.
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“It also kept me out of trouble and kept me off the streets, drinking and all that stuff.
“A lot of my friends when I was 14 or 15, they were all up and down, wanting to go out on a Friday night, and my dad had me working really late on Fridays and Saturday mornings and even on Sunday mornings.
“And when I’d finished all that, we used to spend the rest of the time talking about boxing.”