As Morecambe boxer Tyson Fury prepares for the fight of his life against David Haye in Manchester on September 28, we speak to his wife about living with a heavyweight fighter. Paris Fury reveals how they met and why she now has an extensive knowledge of boxing.
Rising star of the boxing world Tyson Fury is set for the biggest fight of his life.
The multi-million pound pay-per-view match against David Haye will take place on September 28.
But life away from the violent world of boxing couldn’t be more different.
Tyson and his charming wife Paris have a beautiful family and live a quiet life in Morecambe.
Paris and Tyson, who both come from a travelling Gypsy background, first met when she was 15 at a wedding of mutual friends in London, although Paris thought Tyson was a lot older than she was.
Smiling fondly at the memory, Paris explains: “Even though Tyson was a similar age to me, he looked about 25 as he was so big.
“He had all this facial hair and a beard and these big sideburns.
“I remember seeing Tyson as soon as my friend and I got out of the car to go into the wedding and I have to admit I did refer to him as ‘Farmer Giles’ and have a laugh at his expense.
“Then his aunt, who I had known all my life as she was my mum’s friend, told me she wanted to introduce me to her nephew.
“I was wearing a hat for the wedding and I remember being hardly able to see Tyson from under my hat as he was so tall.
“We only saw each other for a split second and I didn’t really give him another thought.”
Now aged 23, Paris has been married to Tyson, who turned 25 last month, for almost five years and they have two children – Venezuela, three and Prince, one. At 5ft 8ins tall in her bare feet, Paris is quite tall for a woman, but she is dwarfed next to Tyson who is a strapping 6ft 9ins – and was already this height when she first met him.
Paris says: “We didn’t actually get together until a night out when I was living in Doncaster.
“The night was to mark my 16th birthday. Tyson happened to be there by fluke.
“He was my first boyfriend as I was not allowed a boyfriend until the age of 16. He is the only boyfriend I have had.
“Tyson would train in boxing during the week and then come and see me at the weekend. I would always be so excited at the thought of seeing him.”
Lowering her voice in front of the children, Paris adds: “Even after we got engaged, Tyson would sleep in a caravan in the yard of my parents’ home while I slept inside the house. We didn’t sleep together until after we got married. That is the traveller’s way and the Gypsy way of life.”
Although they both have Romany roots, it is many years since Tyson lived in a caravan and Paris grew up living in a house.
Trying to explain the Gypsy lifestyle, Paris says: “You are what you are. It is a way of life and is like being Asian or Black or Jewish.
“Big Fat Gypsy Wedding gave a very bad image of what travellers are like and most travellers are not like that, just a very small minority.
“People from a travelling background have big families and it is quite old fashioned and everyone looks out for each other. It is like a community.”
Tyson and Paris dated for three years before getting married when she was 18, almost 19.
Laughing as she remembers, Paris says: “Tyson never actually proposed to me.
“He just told me we were getting married.
“We were having a picnic and chatting about his future as a boxer and he turned to me and said: ‘First I am going to turn professional, then win the English title then the British title, then I’m going to marry you. I was a bit shocked, but also very happy.”
The couple married in December 2008 – and it wasn’t a Big Fat Gypsy wedding. They tied the knot at a church in Doncaster followed by a reception at The Stables in High Melton.
When she first met Tyson, Paris had no interest in boxing, but has now become fascinated by the sport and even surprises herself with the boxing knowledge she has picked up.
“I have a very extensive knowledge of boxing now as I have picked up a lot from hearing Tyson talking with friends about boxing.
“I like watching heavier weight boxing, but I can’t bring myself to watch lighter weight boxing. Seeing men who weigh the same as me boxing just doesn’t seem right. It is like watching children fighting.”
Shortly after their marriage, Paris became pregnant with Venezuela, who will turn four just two days after Tyson takes on David Haye in what is being billed as the fight of the year.
The couple also have son Prince, who will turn two next month.
Giggling, Paris admits there’s no shortage of exotic names in their household. “With Tyson being named after Mike Tyson and me being named after the capital of France, we couldn’t really have ordinary names for our children could we?”
When Tyson is boxing, Paris goes to watch him and was even at his side while heavily pregnant.
Tyson has been at a training camp near Antwerp, Belgium for the last six weeks and although Paris and the children usually join him, this time Paris has stayed at home.
She explains: “Tyson always wants me to go with him, but this time I have stayed home so he can concentrate and I can sort out all the jobs that need doing. This is one of the longest periods I have gone without seeing Tyson but he needs to prepare for the fight.”
Although Paris loves being invited to parties and premieres with Tyson, she says she does not deliberately seek out the limelight and is not a wannabe WAG.
“My friends joke and say I could be a BAG instead of a WAG!
“When Tyson is being interviewed and photographed and getting all the adulation, I just stand back and don’t push myself into the limelight. It is Tyson’s place.
“He has earned the right to have that profile.”
Coyly, Paris admits plans for more children are definitely on the agenda: “I would love a big family.
“My granny had eight kids and I would absolutely love to have that many and Tyson is a great dad.
“I am only 23, so there is plenty of time!”