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Meet John Fury, heavyweight champ Tyson’s bare-knuckle fighter dad who was once sent to prison for eye-gouging

TYSON FURY’S rise to heavyweight boxing glory is largely down to one man – his father John.

The 33-year-old boxer’s life featured in ITV’s warts-and-all documentary Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King.

Tyson’s dad John Fury was a boxer, going pro in bare-knuckle fighting

John went to prison in 2011 after gouging another man’s eye out

His Irish-born dad was a boxer too, fighting 13 professional bouts.

He also fought bare-knuckle fighting and claims he won £100,000 in one bout.

John Fury, 55, also served four years of an 11-year sentence for gouging a man’s eye out in a sickening attack.

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And such is John’s influence on his son, it is believed he is the reason why Tyson parted ways with long-term trainer Ben Davison last year.

Just like Tyson, life began in the ring for John.

He had very little choice. Born in Galway, it was a family tradition to enter the fight game.

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And he was good at it too.

Standing at 6ft 3in, John fought 13 times as a pro boxer in the 1980s and 90s for a record of 8-4-1 at heavyweight.

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His one title fight ended up being a defeat against Yorkshire-born Neil Malpass in 1989.

Journeyman Malpass pummelled John and won on points in a ten-round contest.

John fought four more times after that, retiring after losing his final fight against Steve Garber at the G-Mex Centre in Manchester in 1995.

STREET FIGHTING MAN

But he was also more than handy at bare-knuckle fighting.

John, who later coached Tyson and his brother Love Island star Tommy, told the Daily Star: “In 1992, I fought the ­so-called ­champion at the time, an Irishman whose name I can’t even remember, over in Ireland.

John Fury fought 13 times, winning eight fights during his bare-knuckle career

John Fury fought 13 times, winning eight fights during his boxing career

John Fury was ringside to see Tyson Fury become heavyweight champion of the world

John Fury was ringside to see Tyson Fury become heavyweight champion of the world

John believes he can be a mentor to son Tyson Fury now after his prison reformation

John believes he can be a mentor to son Tyson Fury now after his prison reformation

“With stakes and everything, I came up over a hundred grand.

“The fights I had were usually over within seconds.

“I weren’t an especially big puncher, but, once I got going, I’d not stop swinging until they were out cold.

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“I’d not come up for air. I just wanted to kill. I’d hit them with fists, elbows, head, teeth and feet until they dropped and give best [surrendered].

“If they didn’t, I’d kick their face off, it was up to them. Afterwards, shake hands and on to the next one.

“In my twenties I was a really ­formidable force.”

When he quit fighting he became Tyson’s trainer, steering him to the British title after just eight contests.

Born in Galway, Ireland Johns family were travellers who fought

Born in Galway, Ireland Johns family were travellers who fought

Tommy Fury returned to the boxing ring after becoming a huge reality TV star

NAMED HIS SON AFTER MIKE TYSON

When Tyson Fury was born back in 1988, Mike Tyson ruled supreme as undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

But the baby was three months premature and weighed just 1lb.

Fury was given slim chances of survival by doctors, but proved he was a fighter from birth.

Father John Fury explained on ITV’s documentary Tyson Fury – The Gypsy King: “He was just a pound in weight.

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“The doctor said he probably won’t make it, he’s very weak.

“I said to all them doctors, he won’t be small, I said he’ll be nearly 7ft tall, 20 stone, the next heavyweight champion of the world.

“I thought, ‘There’s only one name fitting for him, he’s fought hard to become a person living in this world.’

“Mike Tyson was the best in the world at that time.

“Tyson Luke Fury – that’s his name.”

A TIME FOR REFLECTION

Fighting got John in serious trouble in 2011.

A 12-year grudge with Oathie Sykes boiled over and John tried to gouge his foe’s eye out in a fight at a car auction.

John, the self-confessed ‘hardest man in Britain’, broke down in court as he plead for a lenient sentence.

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He told the court: “I’m worried about my son. His boxing career is on the line.

“If I could give my own eye to him to get back to my children I would do – I’m begging you for my life.”

But Skyes offered a different testimony, saying: “It was like he was trying to pull his finger into my brains through my socket.”

John Fury got in a row with Oathie Sykes, blinding his foe

John Fury got in a row with Oathie Sykes, blinding his foe

Fury once called himself the hardest man in Britain

Fury once called himself the hardest man in Britain

RELEASED WHEN HIS SON WAS CHAMP

In 2015, John was released from prison after serving four years of his sentence.

Two months later, his family were celebrating Tyson becoming heavyweight champion of the world after his epic victory against Wladimir Klitschko in Germany.

John was ringside, and he couldn’t have been prouder of his boy.

Reformed John was also ready to be a calming influence on his son’s life.

John told the BBC: “Sometimes his mental state can carry him away but I can understand and help with that.

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“I’ve been very unlucky, but very lucky as well because my son has remained undefeated [during my time in prison] and come on in leaps and bounds.

“But when I think he is going down the wrong way I can pull him up and tell him ‘we don’t need that’.”

The Fury clan were happy to be reunited after Johns prison release

The Fury clan were happy to be reunited after John’s prison release

NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK HIS MIND

Since his release, John has become a media pundit for his son’s fights, primarily those in the US because he can’t get a visa to travel to the States due to his criminal record.

Fury admitted: “I’ve been a naughty boy and there is no point hiding it. I’m not allowed in the country.”

He’s appeared on BT Sport, and was critical of Tyson’s trainer Ben Davison after his son struggled to overcome Otto Wallin, surviving a nasty gash on his eye that required plastic surgery to fix.

It was no coincidence that Davison was relieved of his duties after that fight.

He told BT Sport: “I’ve never seen him as bad.

“He looked weight-drained, he looked like he’d left it all in the gym to be honest with you.”

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Not mincing his words, he added: “I’m being honest about it, he’s my son, I’m a straight talker, that’s the worst I’ve seen my son.

John Fury often appears on BT Sport to talk about his sons fights

John Fury often appears on BT Sport to talk about his son’s fights

It is believed John Fury is the reason Tyson split with long-term trainer Ben Davison

It is believed John Fury is the reason Tyson split with long-term trainer Ben Davison

“But what I can say? I’m very proud of the way he mauled his way through it, he showed world class heart and he will come again.

“He needs to go back to the drawing board and see what’s gone wrong here. And be honest to look in the mirror and say, ‘Things ain’t gone right.’

“He needs to look where he’s gone wrong. I’ve half an idea, but that’s for my own.”

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