Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King gives us an incredible behind-the-scenes look at one of sport’s great titans.
Sporting superstars are often seen as untouchable beings, placed on pedestals far above us ordinary mortals.
In the world of boxing, that feeling is multiplied ten-fold. In football for example, matches are contested between 22 people whereas in boxing it’s one-on-one.
As a result, the top level of boxing is full of huge egos, brash characters and some real juggernauts of sport.
However, the ITV documentary series, Tyson Fury: The Gyspy King, has shone some light on a goliath of the boxing world who is a little bit different.
Ahead of March 5th’s third and final episode, we spoke to the director and producer of Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King, Phil Turner, to find out first-hand what the self-proclaimed Gypsy King is like.
Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King on ITV
Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King follows the heavyweight boxer as he prepares over several months for the highly-anticipated rematch against the USA’s Deontay Wilder after the first fight between the pair was ruled as a split draw.
In the documentary, we join Tyson Fury both at home and in the ring as he trains and competes in warm-up fights ahead of the long-awaited rematch in February 2020, getting a sense of both Tyson Fury: the fighter and Tyson Fury: the man.
How did the Tyson Fury documentary come about?
For director-producer Phil Turner, who is responsible for documentary series such as SAS: Who Dares Wins, Benefits Street and Make Bradford British, the opportunity to film with Tyson Fury came very much out of the blue.
“I was filming something for BBC One and I got a phone call from an exec down in London with a job I might be interested in, she told me it was Tyson Fury.
“Immediately I got put onto my back foot and it’s not often that happens, I was just so excited, for it to come to me like that, it was almost like a gift from the gods.”
Meeting Tyson Fury: A humble superstar
Before Tyson agreed to film the series, he had to meet with Phil and other members of the crew.
Phil said: “the next stage was to meet him so he could vet us” and it was in a Nando’s in Manchester where the Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King documentary was given the go-ahead.
Tyson Fury is known for being a titan of the boxing ring but also a humble and down-to-earth character, something which Phil explained perfectly:
“Filming in Morecombe [where Fury and his family live] then out to Vegas and then to Spain, it was incredible. The amount of love and support he generates, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“He’s so down to earth, so generous. If somebody comes up to him for an autograph, unless he’s walking in the street with his kids, I’ve never once seen him say ‘no mate, not today’, he stops and chats to everybody, he’s genuinely a top-class fella.”
A fearsome fighter
While his home life is just like anybody else’s, Tyson Fury takes a step up when he competes and that switch to professional fighter mode as Phil Turner puts it can be hugely intimidating.
“I filmed the first fight in Vegas [against Tom Schwartz] and it was just incredible. You’re in the home of boxing and all eyes are on him. The whole world is watching.”
“I was in the changing room with him before the fight and you’ve got people coming in like Robbie Williams and Gordon Ramsay, it was incredible.
“He’s so relaxed but then he switches it on and all of the sudden he’s in full professional fight mode and it’s really f***ing intimidating.”
Mental health champion
It’s no secret that Tyson Fury has struggled at times during in his career, not only with alcohol and drug abuse but also with mental health issues such as depression.
In the documentary, we see Tyson speak candidly about these issues and it’s something that has proved inspiring for many.
“He speaks to all of us on a level that people recognise,” Phil said.
“I remember there was a woman whose husband was a 60-year-old builder who’d never been able to talk about his mental health illnesses, who was suddenly able to talk about it because the heavyweight champion of the world was talking about it.
“To have somebody of his sort of stature and his background talking about things like that really opens the doors for us normal people to talk about those issues.”
Don’t miss the final episode of Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King
The third and final episode of Tyson Fury: The Gypsy King, produced and directed by Phil Turner, arrives on ITV at 9pm on Thursday, March 5th 2020.
Episodes 1 and 2 are also available on catch-up on ITV Hub.
With a trilogy fight for Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder on the cards, we asked if Phil would be game for filming a second series with the Manchester-born boxer, providing ITV and Fury all agreed.
Unsurprisingly, Phil simply said:
“Of course I’d be interested. I thoroughly enjoyed every second working on the series.”
Other than that, there are several more projects coming our way from Phil Turner including a celebrity special of SAS: Who Dares Wins as well as another series of Ambulance on the BBC.