By Frank Walsh
Behind the mammoth figures of Tyson and Hugie Fury is the mechanic of team Fury, Peter Fury. Trainer and mentor, Peter has come full circle in his 45 years. Close to nine of those years spent in prison on charges of possession, and money laundering. Upon his release, Peter left his demons locked away and embarked on a new life. Truly a remarkable story.
BR : Peter at what stage did you first enter a boxing gym? Your brother John Fury boxed, so in some ways naturally you might find your way to a boxing gym.
PF : I have been in boxing clubs around the UK since I was 8 years old. I would go with my elder brothers. When i wasn't in the gym, i would box my brothers. I grew up around boxing. From the age of 13 I was often having scrapes on the street. Always in trouble. I only had a couple of fights, amature and professional when I was 17/18 years old I think.
BR : You trained and sparred former European Light Heavyweight Champion Crawford Ashley at one stage. Did you ever seriously consider a boxing career?
PF : The reason I never made a career from boxing was dedication. I was never dedicated to the sport, in the sense of i had too many distractions outside of boxing. My pro fight came about at a time when myself and my manager Tommy Miller were not seeing eye to eye. He rightly pointed out that i turned professional, and not been in the gym for three months. When I did bother to turn up, sparring was all i wanted. Tommy called me up one days and told me he had a show in two days time, in Sunderland. I agreed. I was around 30lbs overweight at the time.
I remember Charlie Atkinson & Pat Brogan advising my brother not to let me fight in my condition. I went in and took every shot to land mine. I was by no means losing the fight, but my engine was going like a plug from a sink. After two rounds completed, my corner duly pulled me out due to breathing and exhaustion.
When I got checked by the doctor, he told me my blood pressure was through the roof. The boxing board withheld my licence for six months while I underwent heart tests with my blood pressure so high. In the meantime, i was in the gym working with Bert Myers from Burnley and got down to 13 stone. Sparring and training with the top names.
and my brother to help him in his fights. Then I got involved with other things out side boxing, that was that as they say. My life took a different direction from that point onwards.
BR : Not all, but many trainers have credentials so to speak, past achievements such as amateur or professional titles. I spoke with Steve Cunningham last month, and he spoke very highly of you as a trainer. Why do you think you have had success without any past credentials?
PF : I never thought about training fighters. I only got involved because my family asked me to help them. And in turn that has helped me. I enjoy what i do now more than anything else.
Even when I spent years locked up I trained every day. I always sparred the other inmates. Back then, some prisons allowed boxing. Frankland prison was the last prison to allow it.
Tough times, but good memories all the same.
Another goal of mine is to bring something different to boxing. Let the fans and public see more of what goes on behind the scenes. Interact with them and bring boxing back to the old days again.
BR : Family involvement in camp can go either way. Do you feel as a family member, that gives you an edge? In terms of truly knowing your fighter. In a close fight, when a fighter is under real pressure, a family member might be that little more willing to throw in the towel. Emotional involvement can go for or against.
PF : Being a family member does not affect my thinking towards any fighter in the ring. I'm not faint hearted. So wouldn't pull my fighter out unless I could see real injury.
BR : You own a gym in Belguim. Having a base camp in Europe must be ideal to attract European Heavyweights unwilling to travel to the UK? Must also be cost effective.
PF : We have a superb facility in Belgium. The people and friends their are amazing in helping us out. Denice crowhil of super pro NL has always supported us and i will always be very greatful to him and his fighters.
We support each other.
BR : Tyson has had a frustrating couple weeks following David Haye pulling out of their clash with a cut. What was your reaction upon hearing the news?
PF : The Haye fight is one big mess as I see it. The fight is back on and the contracts are signed. But with all the negative stuff around this fight, it's bad for boxing. But in life you can not pull strokes and not expect back fire. The only good from these negative events is in the future, perhaps camps will think hard when the public turn up the heat on them. That is only achieved by keeping the fight fans in the loop all the way.
BR : By bell time, it will be almost 10 months Tyson has been in the ring. For a Heavyweight, being active is vital. Contract wise, is Tyson able to have a bout before the Haye fight? If not, do you think inactivity will hurt a young fighter like Tyson?
PF : No. when Tyson fights again, he will be ready as he was September 28th.
BR : Steve Cunningham said he thought Tyson was underestimated as a boxer. Everyone goes into a fight with a plan. But instincts take over eventually. Do you think Tyson can stay disciplined against Haye?
PF : Yes. The public will see another side to Tyson. He is growing into a superb fighter, mentally and physically.
BR : Hughie Fury showed promise as an amateur, and won gold in the 2012 Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships. The first ever British fighter to do so at Super Heavyweight. He turned professional the following year. Why did Hughie decide on a pro career at a young age?
PF : Hughie has a big future. He's stepping up nicely. He boxed the former British Cruiserweight champion. Followed by a decent lad with 7 wins from 8 bouts. We're hoping for good level domestic fights coming up soon.
Mike Tyson turned pro at 19. I'm told he had 14 fights in that year. Hughie has had ten fights and only turned 19 few weeks ago. By end of this year, Hughie will have had 15 fights in 8 months as a professional. And we march onwards next year.
BR : At 10-0, Hughie Fury has had a perfect start to his professional career. Obviously you must be pleased with his progress up to this point. How do you plan to move him along? Tyson had hard fights early, compared to a lot of fighters that are protected in terms of competitive fights early on.
PF : I'm happy with Hughie's progress. He's getting the right learning fights at this stage. He's finding his way round the pro ring very well. Maturing mentally aswell.
Don't hold your breath if Hughie loses one or two fights. He is not being matched easily. But i'm long term and to become an exceptional fighter, you need to get wet!!
BR : Who and when is next for Hughie?
PF : He's out again October 13th. And then towards the end of October, November 8th and November 16th.
BR : Lastly, what goals do you want to achieve as a coach?
PF : It's going to be an interesting few years ahead. Full of blood, guts, dedication and sheer work. However the blessed lord is great and we will keep grinding that rock until it's a Diamond.
@boxingroundup on TwitterTags: David Haye , Tyson Fury , Hughie Fury , Haye-Fury , Haye vs. Fury