Tyson Fury returns to action this weekend, taking on fellow Briton Dillian Whyte in what the world heavyweight champion has hinted could be his last fight.
It is the latest chapter in a checkered career for the controversial boxer, who has divided his critics but has proven himself to be one of the best fighters of his generation.
Fury is known as “the Gypsy King”, which has become one of boxing’s most famous nicknames and has been seen proudly emblazoned on his shorts during fights, but where does he come from?
why is tyson fury called ‘the gypsy king’?
Fury’s nickname stems from his Irish traveler heritage on both his mother’s and father’s sides, which was often discussed during his career.
in 2016, for example, the boxer declared: “I’m a gypsy and that’s it. I will always be a gypsy, I will never change. I’ll always be fat and white and that’s it. I am the champion, but I am considered a bum.”
His family has a strong boxing heritage, with Fury’s father, John, fighting bare-knuckle without a license, and later as a professional, under the moniker “Gypsy” John Fury.
The 33-year-old, whose wife Paris shares his traveling heritage, also has a more distant relationship with two legendary strip boxers, Uriah Burton and Bartley Gorman, who were nicknamed “King of the Gypsies,” inspiring the nickname of fury.
in an interview with the bbc in 2014, fury explained how he sees his traveling heritage as a key factor in getting into the sport.
“Boxing is a key element of travel culture,” he said. “First of all, you learn to fight.
“While in other cultures little kids kick a ball, we hit our hands. when we have a dispute, we’re not supposed to go to the police, we’re supposed to take off our shirts, go out there, and punch it out.
“being a good fighter is one of the best things you can be in life.”
However, after becoming world champion, the “gypsy king” also revealed to the broadcaster that he had received increasing prejudice based on his background.
fury said: “I am receiving much more racial abuse than ever before. I’ve done well and people don’t like that: the faster they can take me down the better. I expected it, because nobody wants a gypsy to do well.
“That doesn’t bother me because it’s what I do for a living. if I were German, Indian or Chinese, I’d still be doing what I have to do to pay my bills.”
how to watch fury vs. whyte
- date: Saturday, April 23
- venue:wembley stadium
- time: coverage will begin at 6:00 p.m. m., with the first hour of fights free for bt sport subscribers. after that you will have to buy the fight at the box office. ring walks for the main event will be anytime from 10:00 p.m. m., but could be closer to 10:45 p.m.
- TV channel/live stream: bt sport box office, or via the bt sport app. You can also watch it on BT through your sky box or with a virgin media box
- pay-per-view price: £24.95
- Repeat: If you miss it live, the main event will be repeated on Sunday, April 24 starting at 9am. the last opportunity to repeat will be on Thursday, April 28 at 3:00 p.m.
who is tyson fury?
Fury, named Mike Tyson by his father John, was born and raised in Wythenshawe, Manchester, and reportedly weighed just 1 pound at birth after being born three months premature.
John told i that his son was so talented that he would be talked about for the next 500 years, just like Martin Luther King.
He is undefeated in 32 fights, with a controversial draw in his first fight with Deontay Wilder, the only time he has not emerged victorious from the ring.
Fury’s most famous victory to that point came in 2015, when he stunned longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles.
However, he was forced to vacate the belts due to drug, alcohol and mental health problems, and did not fight again for more than two years.
Most thought he was done with boxing for good, but in January 2018 he announced his intention to reapply for his license, with his sights set on fighting more savagely for a world title.
That fight, held at the staples center in Los Angeles in December 2018, was an instant classic, ending in a hotly contested split decision draw.
then they met again in a rematch on February 22 and this time there was no doubt about the outcome, with Fury forcing a seventh-round stoppage in a dominating display, claiming the wbc and ring magazine world titles in the process, which continues to hold.
the king of controversy
After it emerged that he had failed a drug test in 2016, Fury went on to speak openly about his problems with cocaine, alcohol and depression.
in 2018, he told the joe rogan experience podcast that he “so badly wanted to die” and described how he once deliberately nearly drove his ferrari into a bridge at 300 km/h in 2016.
after getting up from the canvas to draw with wilder, he said, “everyone who has the same problems I’ve been having, I did it for you.”
“you know the truth, everyone knows I won the fight, and if I can go back to where I came from, so can you.”
However, the Fury has always divided opinion, with a history of deeply controversial statements on issues including homosexuality, women, Jews and abortion.
Before his title fight with Klitschko in 2015, he compared homosexuality and abortion to pedophilia, saying, “There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is that the homosexuality is legal in the countries, one of them is abortion and the other is pedophilia.”
and was accused of sexism when he said of british heptathlete jessica ennis-hill ahead of the 2015 bbc sports personality of the year awards, for which they were both nominated: “that’s the runner, isn’t it?
“She’s good, she’s won quite a few medals, she hits well too. when she is wearing a dress, she looks quite fit.”
Whyte’s fight comes after Fury disowned Daniel Kinahan, the alleged crime boss who ran the boxer’s former management company and received more than £3m in consulting fees from Fury’s US promoter , bob arum, in sky news.