Fury charmed fans during visit to Belfast

Allison meets Tyson in north Belfast

WHEN Tyson Fury and his entourage visited north Belfast three years ago his presence caused quite a stir among the local children who crowded round him, dwarfed by his 6ft 9in stature.

The man who calls himself the Gypsy King was visiting a local boxing club ahead of his fight with Martin Rogan and despite fighting the Belfast man in his home town, Fury had clearly endeared himself to the locals.

While he was great with the fans and a nice enough guy to speak to there was no hint he would one day become the heavy weight champion of the world. In fact if you were to ask me to sum him up in one word I'd have said 'harmless'.

Which is not a word you would ever have used to describe Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman or Joe Frazer, all previous holders of the most prestigious, and more to the point profitable title in boxing.

On the day of the fight I was ringside in a sold out Odyssey arena. The crowd was an eclectic, colourful mix with a large Traveller contingent who hold Fury in high esteem as one of their own.

The main event was scrappy, unimpressive, hard to watch and ended with an unconvincing fifth round stoppage and a mass brawl in the crowd with riot police called to break up the fans.

There was nothing on that night back in April 2012 that would have made me believe I was looking at the future heavy weight champion. If I were a betting woman I'd have had my house on Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko to win - it's as well I'm not or I'd have been waking up in a tent this morning.


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