Shortlisted for BBC award, Tyson provokes fury with comments on women, gays

Tue Dec 8, 2015 4:27pm EST
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By Ian Chadband

LONDON (Reuters) - With a name like his, Tyson Fury was not destined to be a shy and retiring wallflower.

Since becoming world heavyweight champion, the 27-year-old British boxer has been living up to his name, provoking fury well beyond the ring with his pronouncements on homosexuality, women, fellow athletes and a range of other topics.

One of sport's biggest upsets, Fury's victory last month over long-standing world champion Wladimir Klitschko has earned him a spot on the shortlist for the BBC's prestigious Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) award.

But along with recognition of his sporting achievement, the man who calls himself the "Gypsy King" to honor his Irish traveler heritage has also gained much wider exposure for his controversial views since his overnight rise to global fame.

An online petition calling on the BBC to deselect him because of comments widely seen as homophobic has now gathered close to 100,000 signatures.

"Young people need sports personalities that they can look up to, not people who express outrageous homophobic views, which can cause bullying and self-harm," the petition reads.

It cited an interview with the Mail on Sunday newspaper in which Fury, a born-again Christian, said three things needed to happen "before the devil comes home". These were "homosexuality being legal in countries", along with abortion and paedophilia.

On Tuesday, the BBC reported that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had received a call complaining about comments made by Fury on homosexuality during a BBC program.   Continued...

Tyson Fury is seen in action against Wladimir Klitschko during their WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Title fight at the Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany in this November 28, 2015 file photo.    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach