I first met Tyson Fury at Jimmy Egan’s Boxing Academy in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Then and still the gym is run by Steve and Shaun Egan, sons of the late Jimmy, who taught me to box as a youngster.
Then in the 80’s it was the Benchill Boxing Club in the old Sharston swimming baths, before moving above the Benchill pub, many moons ago. A great man was Jimmy an old school dedicated coach and his two sons have taken on his role after the eld fella passed away in 2004 after a battle with cancer. Shaun and Steve have since produced a succession of amateur champions in their own right, but Jimmy’s name will always ring out within the new gym on the other side of the south Manchester council estate.
In 2006 I’d started training for a fight and asked Steve if I could come and use the gym to get in shape. At the time they were using a school hall to train and Steve pointed to a couple of lads in the corner who were taping up their hands. ‘Guess how old he is’? Steve asked me, pointing out Tyson. I couldn’t tell but it had to be 25 plus? ‘Seventeen’ laughed Steve. ‘And his brother Shane is 15’ he added. Shane was the lad stood with him, who was a big fellow in his own right and both looked much older than their teenage years suggested. Steve went on, ‘Tyson Fury is his name’ and he will be heavyweight champion of the world one day!’ – I believed him. I shook Tyson and Shane’s hand’s and over the next few years on and off I trained quietly beside them and the other lads at the gym. I watched Tyson spar with his brother many times and the pair never let sibling love get in the way and on occasions had some very competitive sessions! – Even then there was something about Tyson, a sparkling energy.
Fury now 23, didn’t enter the Pajkic fight in full fighting shape, he wasn’t primed and he wasn’t sharp. He didn’t look in the zone until the 3rd round and then it was a semi controlled aggression, with no tactical thought. He pounded and bullied Pajkic with his size power and force. It wasn’t pretty and he could have made lighter work of Pajkic and other opponents like this in the future, if he were to use his given talents and strengths to there maximum.
Tyson and his wife Paris now have two young children and it is a time of his life now where he should be settled, focused and making great strides in his chosen career. But in February this year his dad John was sentenced to 11 years in prison and it is a situation that is still raw for Tyson and weighing heavy on his mind. His dad had travelled the world with him as an amateur and pro to every fight and was his chief cheer leader, his rock and his security, the person he trusted, who was always there for him and now he wasn’t! Gypsy John once even drove to Siberia and Poland to see him box as an amateur because he didn’t want to fly.