Tyson Fury Family History

Overview

Tyson Luke Fury was born on August 12th, 1988 to John and Amber Fury in Manchester, England.  His father named him Tyson after Mike Tyson who was the heavyweight boxing world champion at the time.

Although Tyson has Irish Traveller roots, he grew up in the leafy suburbs of Wilmslow, Cheshire in a posh area there called Styal. “My dad provided us with a nice home. I was very privileged as a child,” he has said.  At school the future heavyweight was a gentle giant who towered above his classmates,  Following in his father’s footsteps, Tyson took up amateur boxing as a teenager.

Tyson turned professional in 2008 at the age of twenty.  He reached the first pinnacle of his boxing career when he defeated Wladimir Klitchko for the world heavyweight crown in 2015.  There followed a wasted period of alcohol abuse and mental health issues when he vacated his title.  But he came back with vigor three years later to fight Deontay Wilder.  After their three epic contests between 2018 and 2021, Tyson returned to the top of the heavyweight boxing tree.

Despite his middle-class upbringing, Tyson is proud of his Irish Traveller heritage.  His wife Paris, whom he married in 2008, came from the same roots.  Indeed, after they married, they retreated deeper into the old ways, buying a caravan and living in Morecambe for several years.  Thanks to his boxing wealth, he and his family now live in a large new luxury mansion there.

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The Fury Name

This name is originally of Gaelic origin, derived from the Gaelic Ó Fiodhabhra meaning “bushy eyebrows” (from fiodh as “wood” and fabhra as “eyebrow”).

The sept was first found in West Meath, but had migrated west to Galway by the 1600’s.  James Fury was recorded at Kilconnell in east Galway in 1630.  Tyson’s grandfather Hugh and father John both hailed from Tuam in Galway.  And the Furey name is still found in Tuam.

The main Irish spelling of the name today is Furey.  There are around 1,000 Fureys in Ireland – including the Fureys, a traditional Irish folk band whose members may be related to Tyson.  Fury is an alternative spelling more found in England.

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The Gypsy Heritage

Tyson Fury is of Irish Traveller descent and in boxing circles has gone by the name of “the Gypsy King.”

Travellers in Ireland number around 30,000, not that large but they are very distinctive as to their culture.  They may move regularly around the country from one site to another; or they may stay in one place living in caravans or mobile homes.  Family, extended family bonds, and networks are all very important to their way of life.  They tend to marry young, have large families, and to respect their older generation. And they are suspicious of the outside world; as the outside world is of them.

Back in 1970 Anna Furey, a Traveller, had to take refuge in the back of her house in Shantalla, Galway when a jeering mob gathered outside and began throwing stones and smashing windows.  And attacks on Traveller families have continued in Galway.

Fighting, both spontaneous and organized, has always been central to the lives of the Traveller men.

“We don’t move in normal time. You go back to my great-great-grandfather and we are still doing the same stuff. It is still fighting talk. If you want to fight, you take your shirt off, you go outside and you have a knuckle-up, and the best man shakes his hand and they go off for a drink. That is how things are sorted out in our culture.

If you have a dispute, you don’t go to the police or else you are known as a grass, an outcast, and nobody wants to know you. So we settle it our way. We don’t get laws involved.

And we marry our own people. There are exceptions, of course. But mainly we marry our own. A Travelling man goes out to work – buying, selling, whatever he is going to do. It has always been that way. We aren’t an educated race. We don’t go to school.”

In this community, bare-knuckle fighting is seen as a way to resolve disputes and to uphold family honor. It can lead to injuries or worse.

Tyson’s father John, for instance, served four years in prison for gouging out a man’s eye.  In 2011 John had slammed his finger into Oathie Sykes’ eye, leaving him half-blind and apparently putting an end to their long-running feud.  This feud had started back in 1999 when the two got into an argument while drinking in Cyprus.  It culminated twelve years later at a car auction.

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The Boxing Tradition

The Fury family has had a history in boxing. Fury’s father competed in the 1980’s as Gypsy John Fury, initially as a bare-knuckle and unlicensed boxer and then as a professional boxer.

And two boxers, each known as the “King of the Gypsies,” were also there – one on Tyson’s father side of the family and the other on his mother side:

  • Uriah Burton, aka Hughie or Big Just and Tyson’s paternal great grand-uncle, was the bare-knuckle boxing champion in the 1960’s
  • while Bartley Gorman on his maternal side held that title in the 1970’s.

From these two fighters came in Tyson’s time:

  • Hosea Burton, the British light-heavyweight champion in 2016
  • and Nathan Gorman who challenged for the British heavyweight title in 2019.  Nathan, however, was more a contemporary of Tyson’s younger half-brother Tommy, also a boxer.

Meanwhile Tyson Fury’s boxing career has been very much a family affair.  His father John has been his cornerman and often his publicist, his uncle Pat his trainer, and his younger brothers cheerleaders at his fights.  The Fury males are close-knit.

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Tyson Fury’s Family Tree

 

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