Gypsy John Fury sentenced to 11 years in prison for savage act

Heavyweight contender Tyson Fury poses for a photo with his dad in happier times.

Thursday, February 10, 2011, the Manchester Evening News, the United Kingdom’s number one regional newspaper reported the father and trainer of English boxing champion Tyson Fury (in the photo pointing to his son) was sentenced to 11 years in prison for gouging out a man’s eye.


John Fury
left Oathie Sykes, 44, half-blind after their 12-year grudge over a bottle of beer erupted into a fight at a car auction. Moments before shoving his finger into Sykes’ right eye, the 46-year-old Fury declared himself the country’s toughest man.

During the early '80s big things were expected of the 6'3" brawler by the name of Gypsy John Fury from Haslingden, Lancashire, United Kingdom.

Fury’s boast may have been a bit over blown considering during his professional career [in the eighties] “Gypsy” John Fury (8-4-2) wasn’t all that much. He was knocked out twice, never knocked anyone out, and never faced anyone who could be remotely considered a decent boxer.

Holding back his tears, Fury of Moss Lane, Wilmslow begged the judge for mercy after admitting guilt. “I’m worried about my son,” he said. “His boxing career is on the line.”

Then, speaking of the victim, he added: “If I could give my own eye to him to get back to my children, I would do – I’m begging you for my life.”

Sykes told the court he believed Fury wanted to completely blind him in the attack. “It was like he was trying to pull his finger into my brains through my socket. I was screaming, ‘Please stop, you’re hurting me.’ After that he tried to take my other eye – he tried to blind me, sir, not once, he tried to blind me, twice.”

Sykes told the court he had gone to the British Car Auctions at Belle Vue to buy his 17-year-old son, Buddy, his first van when John Fury approached him with his ‘chest up’.

The two men had been pals but had a violent bust-up over a bottle of beer during a trip to Cyprus in 1999. When they met at the auction, Sykes claimed Fury asked him: “What about me and you finishing that fight?”

The victim claimed he said ‘I don’t want no trouble’ and Fury replied: “I’m the best man here in the auction, I’m the best man in the country.” Sykes explained: “He meant he could beat any man at the auction. He’s the best man at fighting.”

The pair traded punches, lurching between cars, before Fury grabbed Sykes by his shoulder-length hair and gripped him in a headlock.

“He was pushing his hand in my face,” said Sykes. “It was his finger. It went in my eye, in the corner and he wouldn’t stop. He was like gouging and poking and twisting and poking. All of a sudden I heard this sound, a clicking like, a popping noise and when he took his hand away I realized blood was in his hand, a lot of blood.”

The attack, which Sykes said he ‘thought would never end’ was witnessed by scores of car-buyers.

Fury was arrested a month later and admitted the offense, saying he was ‘a man of honor’ who was willing to accept responsibility. But he denied he meant to deliberately blind the victim in what had merely been a ‘hard contest’ claiming the victim had bitten him on the cheek, and had been accidentally injured when he pulled his face away.

Fury said the brawl had started out as a fair ‘fight between traveling people’ before Sykes family waded in, leaving him ‘frightened for my life.’ “If I was going to do what he said I done to him, it would have been a lot worse than that. I’m a not a feather-duster man.”

Fury claimed Sykes had targeted him ‘to make a name for himself’ knowing he was ‘out of shape.’ But Sykes denied it had been a ‘straightener’ – an organized fight between two grudging parties – and told the judge ‘what John Fury did was wrong.’

Defending the father-of-six, barrister Michael Levy said while fighting was a ‘way of life’ in Fury’s community, he was not a violent man, but someone dedicated to his family and the career of his ‘extremely accomplished’ son, who plans a world title challenge.

The presiding judge said Fury had been ‘cold-blooded’ in inflicting the ‘catastrophic injury.’ A spokesman for the court stated: “This was a sustained and unprovoked assault that led to a man losing an eye. The fact the root of this dispute which originated more than 12 years ago was so trivial only serves to highlight the senseless nature of the attack.”

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