Skip to content
Home » Tyson Fury: One pound born, stared death in the face twice

Tyson Fury: One pound born, stared death in the face twice

  • by
  • 4 min read

Tyson Fury is a man mountain of a fighter, although – during his early hours of life, there were real fears for his survival.

The 30 year-old was born prematurely just six months into the pregnancy and doctors gave him little chance of pulling through.

Too fragile and delicate to handle properly, Fury had feet the size of a thimble and could lie full length on his father’s hand.

But defying the odds was in Fury from day one. Dad John named him Tyson after the heavyweight champion of the world ‘Iron Mike’ due to the fighting nature of the tiny baby.

In late 1988, Fury was out of immediate danger thanks to the dedication of his family and a true survivor’s instinct.

John Fury

“When I put my hand on his small frame, I could feel the life in him. I said to the doctor ‘he will make it’,” John told BBC Sport.

“He has defied the odds since day one. Maybe this is just who he is.”

Outlining the immediate struggle, John said his son had little hope of making it initially.

“Tyson was an unexpected pregnancy, given we had lost several children between him and his eldest brother. We were just hoping we could bring life and keep it in the world.

“He came into the world, had breathing difficulties. No-one was optimistic.

“I could put him in the palm of my hand. Looking at him I thought ‘this is a strange encounter with life’. I had this tremendous feeling.

“I’d sit with him day and night, kept playing with him, working his little legs and arms, talking to him. There was something about him.

“It’s a weird thing I am trying to describe and it must be hard to comprehend – but when I put my hand on his small frame I could literally feel the life in him. I thought ‘you’re a special human being’.

“I remember he would be lying on his back and have his fists up high. When I think about where he has been and where he has got to, extraordinary things have happened.”


Fast forward 28 years and death came knocking on Fury’s door again as mental demons pushed their way into the world champion’s mind.

Despite defeating Wladimir Klitschko and reigning supreme in his chosen profession, Fury was largely shunned by the mainstream media.

Explaining how events transpired and the dark place Fury sunk into, it was touch and go for John, who eventually put himself on a form of suicide watch.

“After his win, we came back on the ferry and there wasn’t much in the papers – it was like it didn’t take place,” he stated.

“I used to say to him, ‘Don’t expect the same treatment as the man next to you. Travelling people have been talked down for centuries. If you win the heavyweight championship of the world, be prepared for a stormy ride.’

“It was all a mess and became trouble.”

John continued: “His head was all over the place. He’d say things like ‘I’m not interested, I don’t want to box anymore, I don’t want to live anymore, I want to die’.

“I was living in dread and fear, not knowing what the next 10 minutes would bring. Every time the phone rang I was scared to put it to my ear, braced for bad news. In the end, I said ‘I can’t handle this, I’ll move in with him’.

“I thought ‘If I have to get in bed with you, lad, I will’. I ended up with him in the front room and bought a pull-out bed settee so I could watch him.

“But I didn’t shed a few tears… I shed bucket loads.”