Tyson Fury's experience of racism is not something new in the travelling community

It's still acceptable to be racist towards travellers - nothing ever gets done about it, no one ever says anything [about] it, it's just accepted.

The travelling community continues to suffer racism on a daily basis but why do we, as a society, decide to turn a blind eye?

According to human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, it said "systematic discrimination is taking place against up to 10 million Romany across Europe."

That was a report back in 2011, and while it was 10 years ago, it does not seem like society has moved on with the times.

The travelling community have been victims of discriminatory legislation for centuries, dating back to 1530 with the Egyptian Act.

The law was introduced for Romani Gypsies of committing felonies such as robbery.

The act, which forced those who were found guilty of breaking the law to leave the country within 16 days, was amended in 1554 with execution for Romani Gypsies not complying with the ruling. 

Fast forward into the 21st Century and police officers have the power to arrest and seize the properties of Gypsies if they are 'trespassing whilst setting up an unauthorised encampment' - it has resulted in an increase of homelessness in the UK, which is currently estimated at around 280,000.

The word p**** is used frequently towards travellers in 2021 - a word not deemed as offensive by the majority of people in Britain.

When you take into consideration the facts on hand, is it any surprise heavyweight champion Tyson Fury struggles with his mental health?

It is not to say what has been written above had a direct impact on him battling depression and suicidal attempts but when we look back into his victory over Wladimir Klitschko, was it celebrated by the wider media?

No.

Speaking about his experiences of racism, Fury - the current WBC heavyweight world champion - said he once got refused a table at a restaurant because of his background - something Muhammad Ali experienced after winning gold at the 1960 Olympic Games.

"I'm a white male, but I suffer racism in 2020, as a white person, because I'm a traveller and I come from a ethnic background,' Fury said.

"Even today, you go into pubs, bars and restaurants and it may say on the door: 'We reserve the right not to let travellers in. No travellers allowed, gypsies or travellers'. It's not just black people who suffer racism.

"I think travellers are the most acceptable form of racism, in Britain and in the world at the moment. It's still acceptable to be racist towards travellers - nothing ever gets done about it, no one ever says anything [about] it, it's just accepted. That's it, it is what it is.

"It's terrible because you can't judge everybody with the same brush," added Fury. "To have such things go on in my life, and everything that I've been through, to see that on boards or whatever...

"It said: 'No Gypsies allowed.' I said: "What (are) you talking about?". And they said: "No Gypsies allowed."

'I said: "I'm a world heavyweight champion boxer representing this country, I'm not just some Gypsy." And she said: "Yeah but you are a traveller, no travellers allowed."

"I know what it feels like to be racist towards unacceptable behaviour at any time of the year and from anybody. And it ain't just whites, blacks or browns who can be racist - anyone can be a racist person, any colour, any background, it doesn't matter. It needs to change."

Fury is a proud Irish traveller who grew up in Manchester while the other leading boxer for the travelling community Billy Joe Saunders is a Romany Gypsy.

Both groups have identical cultures with a tradition of bare knuckle fighting - something which is on the rise via BKFC (Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship).

Paulie Malignaggi is the highest profile boxer to have made the transition, although his one and only fight ended in defeat to Artem Lobov in 2019.

Bare-knuckle fighting in its purest form is to settle a score between two people with a potential of big prize money on offer for the winner - sometimes more than what would be offered inside a boxing ring which prompts many to stay away from becoming a professional.

The fights are brutal, and not for the faint-hearted, but it can also breed fighting men into boxers.

Boxing has a rich history of champions from the travelling community dating back to the 19th Century and includes names such as Jem Mace, Benjamin Boswell and George "Digger" Stanley.

In 2021, boxing now has Fury and Saunders representing the fighting culture.

Fury is a pay-per-view superstar, who has two of the most impressive wins in recent times against Klitschko and Deontay Wilder on foreign soil.

He is ranked as the No.1 heavyweight in the world. The "Gypsy King" is expected to have an all-British showdown against Anthony Joshua this summer for all the heavyweight marbles.

Meanwhile, Saunders is an undefeated two-division world champion who will collide with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez this weekend in a super middleweight unification.

These two have the power to speak up about the abuse Gypsies receive on a daily basis but society must open its ears if it is to educate itself on the racism travelling communities experience.

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