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Gloucestershire Business News

Love letters: words from Kray to Tyson up for sale

A letter written by notorious gangster Reggie Kray which predicted a glittering boxing career for Mike Tyson is set to go under the hammer.

John Rolfe Auctions, based at the old Babdown Airfield near Tetbury, will showcase the unusual Tyson letter during a four-day sale, starting from April 20.

The letter had been stored in a suitcase for 30 years and in the ownership of vendor Clive Parry for 37 years. Kray penned the words to Parry from Gartree Prison, near Leicester, in the 1980s. 

In 2021, it came to light that Tyson had fostered a pen-friend connection with Kray during his own spell behind bars in the 1990s. He also subsequently visited Kray's family ahead of a fight against Julius Francis in Manchester.

In an extract from the letter being sold, Kray wrote: "I still have friends in the boxing world. Tyson I feel is a great champion at least he will prove to be so."

Tyson is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990.

Now aged 57, the fighter shocked the boxing world when he announced he will be taking on Jake Paul, 27, in Texas this July, with streaming giant Netflix set to televise the bout.

John Rolfe told Punchline-Gloucester.com: "Kray was a keen boxer along with his gangland twin Ron and tried to keep in touch with what was going on in the boxing world."

While Tyson was in prison, the boxing legend spent time in correspondence with the notorious East End gangster.

"We've since found out Tyson is a keen collector of Kray memorabilia and even wrote to Reggie Kray when Tyson himself was serving time in prison," added Mr Rolfe.

"Kray obviously had an eye for anything boxing and it's amazing to think of the career Tyson went on to have - we're really excited to have this letter to auction, along with an order of service for Ron's funeral.

Next month's upcoming sale marks the second time auction of Kray items with letters that were penned by Kray from prisons between 1988 and 1991 (while serving out a life sentence for murder) achieving more than £900.

Mr Rolfe added: "We sold a further letter from HMP Blundeston and a signed photograph of Reggie lifting some weights."

April's auction will also feature a shirt worn by Reggie Kray whilst he was serving time in Shepton Mallet Prison, in Somerset.

● Building up a following for unusual items since its recent inception, the auction house near Tetbury recently sold a pair of original Daleks from the TV Series Dr Who .

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