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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 September 2006, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Fists of Fury
By Phil Gordos

Tyson Fury (left) poses with Sugar Ray Leonard and father Johnny
Tyson Fury (left) poses with Sugar Ray Leonard and father Johnny

You could be forgiven for thinking "Tyson Fury" was another tabloid headline highlighting the former world heavyweight champion's latest indiscretion.

But Tyson Fury is also the name of a teenager from Cheshire being hailed as the next big hope for British boxing.

For coach Steve Egan, it was a case of "too good to be true" when the 18-year-old super heavyweight, who stands 6ft 6in tall and weighs more than 18st, walked through the door of his Manchester gym four years ago.

"He just came in one day and started hitting a bag at the back of the gym," recalls Egan. "I went to have a look at him and immediately knew he was talented.

"He was big but very mobile, had quick hands and a good variety of punches, too.

"I've turned other fighters with less talent into good fighters, so I knew he would be very good. So far, I haven't been disappointed. This guy is going to be champion of the world some day."

Talent aside, Egan must have known he was onto a good thing as soon as he discovered the name of the youngster who had turned up unannounced.

"I asked him what he was called and he said 'Tyson'," remembers Egan. "I said 'Yeah, right'. After all, there aren't many white kids called Tyson, are there?

He is also very dedicated - he told me once that he prefers going to the gym than going for a night out

Steve Egan
Tyson Fury's coach

"Then I asked him what his second name was. When he told me it was Fury, well, I couldn't believe that either. It was a dream come true."

It certainly made any talk of a nickname redundant.

And Fury, given the name Tyson by his dad in tribute to the infamous Iron Mike, has only reaffirmed what Egan already knew from the very first meeting.

"This lad has got everything - movement, speed, good defence. He's also got heart," says Egan.

"You can teach boxers new skills, tactics, how to punch, etcetera, but you can't make them want it. You've got to have that fire inside you. Tyson's got plenty of that.

"He is also very dedicated. He told me once that he prefers going to the gym than going for a night out."

Fury, whose father, "Gypsy" Johnny, was also a decent heavyweight, appears to have the world at his feet. Or should that be fists.

He takes another step on the road to potential greatness this weekend when he begins his challenge for gold at the World Junior Championships in the Moroccan city of Agadir.

He wants to be world champion - I think he'll get there, too

Steve Egan

That's if anyone dares to fight him. He has won all 11 of his fights, six of them inside the distance.

"He could have stopped all of his opponents, but he listens to me," says Egan. "I told he could learn more from going the distance rather than knocking them out."

Fury would no doubt have had more scalps under his belt had he not gone two years without a competitive bout because there was no-one his size in his age group.

His immense presence and blossoming reputation have also resulted in one or two matchmakers being less than truthful when pitting him against an opponent.

Fury's last foe was supposed to have fought 10 times, with a 50/50 record.

It turned out he had fought twice that amount, winning 15 times and knocking out his last three opponents.

It made little difference to Fury, though. He took just 30 seconds to KO his unfortunate rival.

"He wants to be world champion," says Egan, who will be in Fury's corner in Morocco.

"That's his aim. I think he'll get there, too. Not tomorrow, because he's only a baby, but he'll get there."



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