17 June 2020

‘I love talking.’

Tyson Fury, British Romany professional boxer


The fight’s over. My corner-man and cut-man

are mist and water, mist and slaughter.

I scream at the crowd and swagger to the exit.

I bow my face in a locker-room mirror,

and to the mirror behind my eyes.

Infinity. A million beaten faces

stare out, blazing back at me,

brains black-puddinged from pummelling.

My fists are beating the locker door.

I am fighting-royalty. I have Gypsy

kings on both sides of the family.

My three brothers are the same as me.

With us, everyone is a tough guy.

They don’t talk like you and me

are talking. But we all cry instantly.

Look at me: 6 feet 9. If someone

said this to me in my family,

I would just cry. All of us would.

But nothing’s talked about in our family.

We just push each other aside,

or give each other a punch.

We don’t bow to any man.

The red mist rises, an invisible

cloak around my ringside robe.

We won’t bow to you.

I bow to the red mist, naked as fury.

It’s not about the money fights.

It’s the love of one-on-one combat,

the ring entrances, the talking.

I’m the Master of It all.

When I go in there, I’m trying

to put my fist through the back

of his head.  To break his ribs,

make them sob out the other side.

Final bell. I bow to the mist, being gone.

I feel a chill burning my skin.

When the red mist rises, I see

their faces, as many as my mind’s eye

can remember. I’d give my right arm

for any man who stays on his toes.

I’m in control when out of control.

Best style is no style.

You take a little something from everything

use what works, chuck the rest out the ring.

My game’s to get your man on the ground -

sprawl-and-brawl, grind-and-pound.

Gum-shield and teeth, they’re one to me.

Once down, don’t get up from your knees.

This is not your celeb boxing.

It’s felling the other chancer in the ring

short of butchering the bastard

before he gets his breath back,

before he begs for no more.

One clean blow and the mist

will part for him. My opponent begs

for mercy. What’s that, pal?

I’m Fury. Who’s this Mercy?

The breath goes up from the beaten

ghost of a man. Submission.

I’ll tell you who Fury is.

Eye to eyeball at the mirror;

breath on the screen while I scream

at replays on my iPad.


one minute I’m inside the sun

and the next I’m in my car, gunning it

into a wall at a hundred miles an hour.

I don’t trust you as far as I could

throw you. I don’t trust myself.

I bought a brand-new Ferrari

in the summer of 2016.

I was bombing up the motorway

got the beast up to 190mph

heading smack towards a bridge.

I heard a voice crying,

your kids, your family,

your sons and daughter

growing up without their dad.

Before I turned into the bridge

I skidded back on the hard shoulder.

I have been so dark everything was pitch-black.

The fight’s over. My corner-man and cut-man

are mist and water, mist and slaughter.

There is a name for what I am. I scream it

at the crowd and stagger to the exit.


By David Morley

Fury. Adapted from interviews with Tyson Fury, the British Gypsy professional boxer, one of the main sources being an interview with Donald McRae in Guardian, 5 November 2011.  Tyson openly spoke about the racial abuse he receives by being a Gypsy World Champion, because ‘nobody wants to see a Gypsy do well’.  The phrase ‘The best style is no style’ is by Bruce Lee.

David Morley is an ecologist and naturalist by background. He studied Zoology at the University of Bristol and pursued research on acid rain. His awards for poetry include the Ted Hughes Award and a Cholmondeley Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018. David is a Professor of Creative Writing at Warwick University. His work in education has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.

Fury book cover

FURY, a collection of poems by David Morley, will be published on the 27th August

(Lead photograph – Tyson Fury in 2017 by By Mike DiDomizio - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87653411)