Tyson Fury, bread and circuses plus a furious Blattering

EDITOR'S BLOG: The public will pay vast sums of money to watch intentionally inflicted brain damage.

by Matthew Gwyther

The fury surrounding Fury took me back to my youth. About 25 years ago I accepted one of my dodgier assignments when I was sent to write an article about traveller boys who boxed. The pair of gypsy kids - they were happy to be called such then - were aged between 11 and 13 and had been in the ring for a number of years. They lived in a caravan under the Bow Flyover in East London. The more successful of them had a club foot so had an unusual ‘float like a butterfly’ shuffle as he moved around the ring. I can still hear their mum yelling ‘come on, my mushie!’ from ringside as her boy’s fists pummelled a juvenile opponent. And I can still see the flying stream of blood droplets that came from one of their faces when he received an accurate swipe in the nose and eye from his opposite number.

I’ve never been a fan of encouraging kids - or adults for that matter - to punch each other in the head for a living. Boxing remains unusual as a ‘sport’ in that the intentional infliction of brain damage on an opponent is its sole aim. In that way it maintains similarities with its ancient precursor that took place in the Colosseum. Both hasten death.

But there’s loads of money in it even if your chance of getting Parkinson's or dementia pugilistica is a near certain outcome as well as your purse. It’s virtually the only sport which is pay-per-view on Sky. The Fury fight against Klitschko was thought to be worth £30 million and Fury should have made £5 million for his pains. This was peanuts compared to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who received stunning paydays for their welterweight championship unification fight earlier this year in Las Vegas. The sum to be split was close to $300 million.

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here

Email: mtsupport@haymarket.com

Call: 020 8267 8121



  • Up to 3 free articles every 90 days
  • Free email bulletins

Register Now

Take a free trial

Get 30 days unrestricted access to:

  • All the latest news, trends, and developments.
  • Exclusive interviews with CEOs and thought-leaders
  • MT Classroom - giving you an academic grounding without expensive courses
  • Management Matters and other in-depth content.
  • Daily bulletins straight to your inbox

Take a free trial today