“I’ve not achieved anything. That’s genuinely how I feel.”
3.3 million Instagram followers, runner-up on Love Island and a social media sensation, all at 21 years of age. But Tommy Fury hasn’t achieved anything. His words, not ours.
“I’ve not achieved one thing that is worth talking about,” he told The Sportsman ahead of his upcoming fight against an unnamed opponent in November.
“You know, anybody can sit in the sun for two months and chat up girls can’t they? It’s not really difficult is it, it takes no great talent to do that. It takes an awful lot of talent to be a champion in boxing and not many men can do that, so if I could do that and go down in history, then I’ve accomplished something. Then I can speak about what I’ve done.”
For a man who has so much on his plate away from the ring, it is testament to Fury’s grounded attitude that he has returned to boxing with such a burning desire to succeed. The end goal has always remained the same for him and his belief in it is unwavering.
“I will be a world champion. One million per cent,” Fury said after his latest training session. “My focus doesn’t go anywhere else but boxing. Everything in my life now revolves around boxing. A lot of people know me from Love Island but you can’t take away the years and years before Love Island, the 20 years before that. I was in the gym, I was learning. I’ve never had a job, I’ve never done anything else except for boxing. So, if you take boxing away from me and training - I honestly don’t know what I’d do. Without boxing, there is no me really."
You cannot mention Tommy Fury without mentioning those two words. Love. Island. The ITV2 show that propelled him to superstardom. He entered the show in the summer of 2019 and came out of it not just with his now long-term girlfriend Molly-Mae, but also with millions of new fans. That’s not an exaggeration, his Instagram followers exploded from 173,000 as he entered the famous villa, to two million on the day he left. Yet criticism came that this reality show may affect his boxing career, something the Manchester-born fighter vehemently denies.
“At the end of the day, what can they say? If I go in there and get good finishes and knock people out left, right and centre, getting titles, what can they say? Boxing is one of those things, it is heavily opinionated but opinions don’t matter when you get in the ring. You can chat all of your opinions but in 36 minutes, it doesn’t matter.”
Minutes in the ring have not been common for Fury in recent years. In fact, since 2018 he has had a total of just two minutes and 36 seconds inside the ring against journeyman boxers used to losing. But the young boxer believes he is on the right track to success, despite the weaker opponents he has faced so far.
“You look at every great champion and great fighter there has ever been, [Floyd] Mayweather, Mike Tyson, anybody. At the start of their career, they have always had learning fights. The first ten fights of your career should be the learning stage, you are getting in the ring, you are practising the stuff that you do in the gym and you are getting your confidence up. After ten fights, it's like, right, step it up. I’m just going to learn my trade and when I need to step up I will step up. I know full well that the team I have got - my dad, he will always see me right, he won’t put me in a fight I can’t win and it will all be a learning process and that’s the way to do it.”
His dad, John Fury has played a major role in both his and Tyson’s career so far and is always on hand to assist his sons in their careers. Coming from a family of fighters, Tommy is well aware of what it can be like when you catch him on a bad day. So who’s scarier, Tyson or dad John? “I wouldn’t like to be stuck in a lift with my dad. Definitely not,” he laughed. “There is just something about him, when he loses his temper that is it, you just say ‘Oh no problem, I’ll speak to you another day.’ Get out the firing line.”
The Fury family name clearly brings extra pressure in itself, but this is something Tommy has had to grow up with, from the moment he stepped into a gym. “From being a young lad I’ve always had pressure on my shoulders, even sparring at the gym people used to say ‘let’s watch this guy, Tyson’s brother’s sparring.’ It was always constant pressure so from a very early age I’ve just learnt how to block it out and just get on with it. It [boxing] is good for me at the end of the day. In life I only do what I like to do If I don't like doing something then I won’t do it. It is as simple as that.”
It isn’t all negative though, the Fury name brings major benefits as well. Mainly sparring with the heavyweight champion of the world on a daily basis in training, not a bad schooling for a fighter with just three fights to his name. When we ask what he’s learned from Tyson, younger sibling Tommy is emphatic, “Everything!”
“I’ve been around Tyson since I was seven or eight in the gyms, and he has just been great for me,” Fury explained. “I’ve not had that many amatuer fights but in the gym I’m a seasoned man because I've been around that many camps and seen him train that many times and been taught that many things it's just second nature now. I'm like a sponge everytime I get in the gym.”
We couldn’t let Tommy go without asking him about potentially the biggest fight in British boxing history, between his brother and Anthony Joshua:
“I think it will happen, definitely because it is too big of a fight not to happen. I think it should definitely be on for summer time or back end of the year next year to be fair. Tyson is ready all year round. He’s never shied away from anybody his entire life so whenever Joshua steps up and wants to take the fight, then Tyson will be here waiting. I truly believe Joshua knows this in his own head. When he fights Tyson it will be game over for him.”
We eagerly await that clash but for Tommy Fury his attention is all about his next fight, in November. Talk all you want about his life on social media outside of the ring, but in the gym, the training camps and most importantly the ring, Fury is fully dedicated to becoming a world champion. Watch this space...