6 memories of growing up as a Romany Gypsy

Writer Mikey Walsh (who uses an pseudonym for his book) was born into a family of Romany Gypsies in England, to a father who was a boxing champion and wanted his son to continue the tradition. Walsh traveled with others in his community and, like the other Romany Gypsies, avoided anyone who is a Gorgia, or non-Gypsy. Now living in London and working as a teacher, Walsh remembers his childhood and teen years in his new book 'Gypsy Boy.'

1. Boxing is one of the most important parts of a male Romany Gypsy's life

The aftermath of a bare-knuckle boxing match

Walsh says that when he was born, his father placed around his neck a necklace with a tiny pair of gold boxing gloves. Walsh's family had been the bare-knuckle boxing champions since Walsh's great-grandfather had taken the title, which Walsh says is one of the highest honors a Romany Gypsy family can aspire to because of boxing's importance in the Romany Gypsy life. "Whether they go for the crown or not, all Gypsy men will have to fight as part of their day-to-day life," Walsh writes. "It would be impossible for any Gypsy man, no matter how much he might wish for a quiet life, to be in the company of other Gypsy men without being asked to put his hands up. And when he is asked, that is what he must do."

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