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Tyson Fury won't be punished for 'sexist and homophobic' comments

By Claire Cromie

Tyson Fury will not be punished by British Boxing for his controversial comments on women and gay people.

The sport's Board of Control says any punishment would infringe on the boxer's right to freedom of expression.

However it has warned him to "avoid making controversial, non-boxing comments" in future, reminding him of his "heavy responsibilities" as the world heavyweight champion.

Fury faced a barrage of criticism over his personal views after he stunned Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.

It followed a November interview with the Mail On Sunday in which Fury said: "There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one's paedophilia."

He was then accused of sexism after a YouTube video emerged of him saying Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill "slaps up good", before adding: "A woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back - that's my personal belief."

Today a statement was issued by the British Boxing Board of Control following a stewards' meeting.

"Tyson Fury has made comments in the media that have caused offence to members of our society," it said, "However, there is no suggestion that he has broken the law by exercising his right to freedom of expression.

"In such circumstances, the Stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control have been advised that it cannot interfere with his basic human rights.

"Having said that, the Stewards of the Board have made it clear to him that as World Heavyweight Champion, arguably the holder of the most prestigious title in sport, there are heavy responsibilities upon him to avoid making controversial, non-boxing comments.

"He has assured the Stewards that he understands the responsibilities upon him and has expressed regret that he has caused offence to others, which was never his intention."

A petition was signed by more than 139,000 people calling on the BBC to remove Fury from the 2015 Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.

Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford threatened to quit the awards ceremony because of the comments, but he later changed his mind.

Despite the pressure, the BBC refused to remove Fury.

The star-studded event went ahead and a packed out SSE Arena watched as Andy Murray was crowned Sports Personality of the Year.

Outside, up to 30 gay and equal-rights campaigners held banners and chanted slogans such as "Anti-woman, anti-gay, Tyson Fury go away" and "Tyson Fury hear us clear, we don't want your bigotry here".

Fury apologised on stage, saying: "I have said a lot of stuff in the past and none of it is with the intention to hurt anybody.

"It's all very tongue-in-cheek, its all fun and games for me. I am not really a serious type of person.

"Everything is happy-go-lucky with Tyson Fury. If I've said anything in the past that has hurt anybody, I apologise to anybody who has been hurt. It was not my intention to do that."

The "Gypsy King", 27, from Manchester, claimed one of boxing's biggest upsets last year when he defeated Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight title in Dusseldorf.

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