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Tyson Fury: 'I should win SPOTY hands down' as petition calling for BBC to drop boxer from awards breaks 80,000 signatures

By Deborah McAleese and Jonny Bell

Published 07/12/2015

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury

Boxer Tyson Fury has said he should win the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year "hands down" as the petition calling for the broadcaster to drop him from the competition breached the 80,000 mark.

Fury is at the centre of a row over homophobic and sexist statements, leading to the launch of the petition calling for him to be removed from the shortlist for the BBC awards being held in Belfast later this month.

The new world heavyweight boxing champion courted further controversy with a foul-mouthed rant about the petition calling for his removal from the competition being held this years in Belfast.

He said he had more personality "in my little finger" than any of the other nominees and branded the petition signatories "w*****s".

Fury's surprise world title win was overshadowed by comments he made in a recent interview in which he compared homosexuality to paedophilia.

Speaking on BBC Radio Two's Jeremy Vine show, Fury said he should be the favourite for the award.

He said: "A lot of people would agree, I am the biggest sports personality in this country. Nobody has a bigger personality that me.

"But clearly if it's about personality then I should win this hands down

"And if its about sporting achievements then I should win it hands down.

"There hasn't been a heavyweight in a long long time, or even a boxer from England, who has been to a super champion's backyard - the reigning heavyweight champion of the world for 11 years who is going down in history as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters of all time - and I've dethroned him."

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The boxer also said his comments had been "twisted", adding: "I didn't say I had a problem with homosexuals, abortionists or paedophiles - I didn't say I was with it or against it.

"I just said what I am taught from the scriptures.

"I didn't say I hate homosexuals - I don't hate anybody.

"What one man does in his own home is his business. Who am I to judge?

"I've no right to judge. Whoever hasn't sinned can throw the first stone and they can throw it right at me."

Fury and his wife Paris have been married for seven years and have two children, Venezuela and Prince. He said his views on his married life were about his "culture of people" on Monday's radio show.

Fury added: "People have taken this interview and picked out parts of it to suit them.

"I was asked what I thought about women in sport and I said it was great. If you are good enough nothing should stop you competing."

The self-styled Gypsy King said people should regard him as a role model for his achievements.

"I've come from a normal working class background and I've made it to be the number one fighter in the world," he said.

"I'm a role model, a very big one, a 6ft 9in version of a role model."

The wife of BBC Sports Personality of the Year presenter Clare Balding condemned the boxer's inclusion on the shortlist, branding him a "homophobic idiot".

Alice Arnold, who married Balding earlier this year, warned that his remarks encouraged homophobic bullying.

In an article she penned for The Guardian newspaper Ms Arnold said: "It is talk like this that leads to young people suffering bullying and mental illness and in some cases being driven to suicide.

"If you don't like gay people and think we are the devil incarnate, then keep it to yourself unless you want blood on your hands - and not on your boxing gloves. It will be up to us to cast our votes... perhaps this year 'personality' really IS important."

However, in a YouTube video for IFL TV which Fury posted online yesterday, the 27-year-old said he was not interested in the awards and branded all those petitioning against him "w*****s".

He also appeared to take a swipe at Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Davis Cup winner Andy Murray during the ringside interview at Carshalton on Saturday night.

"I can honestly say I'm not really interested in winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year. I know I've got more personality in the end of my little finger than the whole of the nomination group put together.

"I've got more personality in my little toe than they've all got put together, so if it comes to personality there's only one winner. If it comes to sporting achievements there's only one winner," he said.

Fury added: "What personality does it take to drive a car around a track 100 times or hit a ball back and forth. That's not very personality (sic) is it?"

Fury also defended his controversial comments that "a woman's best place is in the kitchen or on her back", and that Jessica Ennis-Hill "looks quite fit when she's got a dress on".

He said: "I'm a little bit backward. I didn't really go to school. Which part of a woman looks good in a dress is sexist? Or was it about the cooking and cleaning? (My wife's) job is cooking and cleaning and looking after these kids. That's it.

"She does get to make some decisions. What she's going to cook me for tea in a bit when I get home. That's the decisions what she gets to make."

He added: "My belief is that my wife should be at home looking after my kids and cooking and cleaning. She's a very privileged woman to have a husband like me. Not everyone's in her position, but the ones who are are very lucky. That's my opinion," Fury said.

When asked if he believed he was a good role model Fury replied: "People should look up to me. Young kids. I am a good role model. I'll show them how men should really be. And kids can take note from that. I am a good role model. Lots of kids look up to me."

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