The Fury patriarch is known for his comical outbursts and being in the corners of his sons Tyson and Tommy, but he was also a solid heavyweight fighter in his own right
Before John Fury was a renowned TV personality and most famous for being the dad to world heavyweight champion Tyson, he was a self-admitted journeyman boxer.
Fury is now one of the most well-known figures in British boxing, although partially for his cartoonish antics at his sons’ Tyson and Tommy’s fights. But he was one a solid fighter, with a number of professional bouts among the dozens of bare-knuckle fights he was known to have.
Cousins with the legendary bare-knuckle champion Bartley Gorman, Fury was a fighter from the day he was born. He had a number of undocumented fights, but his professional record stood at a respectable, if unremarkable 8-4-1.
He was known for his fighting prowess outside of the ring, reportedly once earning a massive £100,000 payout for betting on himself in an unsanctioned bout. He wasn’t the skilful technical boxer that his son Tyson is today, but was said to have a tenacious style when he did fight with people on the streets.
“Once I got going, I’d not stop swinging until they were out cold,” Fury said of his fighting times. “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 gave best. If they didn’t, I’d kick their face off, it was up to them. Afterwards, shake hands and on to the next one.”
Most notably, Fury fought the future world champion Henry Akinwade, where he was brutally stopped in 1991 before the Brit went on to international success. But to start his career, Fury fought Adam Fogerty, losing a points decision in April of 1987.
After that defeat to Fogerty, the Fury patriarch went on a run of six wins before drawing with David Hopkins in his first fight outside of the UK in Helsinki. He was back in the ring a few months later to face Neil Malpass, who handed him the second professional defeat of his young career.
Following his second loss, Fury was out for around a year before coming back to land his first stoppage; a dominant beating of Michael Murray who retired on his stool after the sixth. After another lengthy hiatus, he was called to face Cesare Di Benedetto, whom he defeated over ten rounds.
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At this point boasting a solid 8-2-1 record without any particularly bad losses, Fury ended up in a British title eliminator with Akinwande. He was brutalised by the future world heavyweight champion and knocked out in the third round.
The finish was enough to convince Fury to quit boxing professionally, barring one last step into the ring four years later against Steve Garber. However, Fury was a stone-and-a-half heavier than he was for his last fight, and was ultimately stopped by Garber.
Now 57-years-old, Fury continues to train with his sons as well as a host of other fighters, including UFC star Tom Aspinall. He has frequently expressed interest in a return to the ring, calling out the likes of Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, although those bouts seem fanciful.