The British two-time world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury has held the WBC and The Ring magazine titles since defeating Deontay Wilder in 2020. The self-proclaimed "Gypsy King" has close ties to Tuam, in County Galway.
The 33-year-old fighter officially represented the United Kingdom for his 2020 famous Las Vegas fight but Tyson Fury would have represented Ireland if he had his way. Fury has always been vocal about his Irish roots and famously vacated his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in order to fight for the more modest Irish title earlier in his career.
Explaining the bold decision, Fury said: "I vacated the British and Commonwealth titles, which some people say are more prestigious than the Irish title, but not to me. I vacated those belts for an Irish title shot because it meant more to me.
Born in Manchester, Fury has always felt a closer connection to Ireland, where his father and grandfather were born. He comes from Irish traveling stock and is related to The Fureys, a famous traditional music group, and Andy Lee, an Irish boxer.
“All my people are from Ireland. I was born in Manchester but I am Irish. I have lived in Ireland, visited all my life and when I fight I represent Ireland," he said in 2013.
Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury's Irish roots
The 31-year-old fighter Tyson Fury officially represented the United Kingdom in Las Vegas but he would have represented Ireland if he had his way. Read more here: http://bit.ly/3aglD7XPubliée par IrishCentral.com sur Jeudi 27 février 2020
The Gypsy King even tried to represent Ireland at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 but failed to prove his Irish ancestry because his father's birth was never registered with the state. As a result, Fury has had difficulties obtaining Irish citizenship.
In a segment on BBC Newsline in 2011, Fury - sporting an Antrim GAA jersey - spoke further about his bid to represent Ireland at the Olympics and his Irish heritage.
"I should have gone to the Olympic games in 2008 and won a gold medal for Ireland, but I was denied the chance to go and do it," Fury said.
"If you've got any sort of Irish in you, I don't care where you're from in the world, New Zealand or Afghanistan it doesn't matter, you're brought up as a little child and your father says listen, this is what you are, this is where you come from, forget everything else."
Fury spoke again about the difficulties he had in becoming an Irish citizen after he first became world heavyweight champion in 2015 when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko in Germany.
"I can’t get an Irish passport. Becoming the heavyweight champion of the world is not as hard a fight as proving my Irishness," a frustrated Fury said.
But, as Fury said, " a piece of paper doesn't really mean anything to me because I always knew what was the truth."
Officially or not, Fury is Irish and people can take great pride in his stunning success at the weekend.
Love Irish history? Share your favorite stories with other history buffs in the IrishCentral History Facebook group.