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If it really was sports 'personality' of the year, Tyson Fury would have won by a mile

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Tyson Fury has turned his life around over the last three years, and become a champion of mental health issues

Tyson Fury has turned his life around over the last three years, and become a champion of mental health issues

Tyson Fury has turned his life around over the last three years, and become a champion of mental health issues

It doesn't help that the very title is a misnomer - Sports 'Personality' Of The Year.

Look back over the years and you'll see charisma-free zones such as Damon Hill, Michael Owen, Ryan Giggs, Linford Christie and Nigel Mansell lifting the famous BBC trophy.

To be fair, there were others who oozed personality too, such as Henry Cooper, Mary Peters, Paul Gascoigne and Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff.

This year, however, the metronomic Lewis Hamilton got the vote for a second time.

No one doubts his ability - arguably the greatest F1 driver ever - but I'd be surprised if he was your first-choice companion on a desert island.

No, if 'personality' was the principal criterion, Tyson Fury would have won by a mile.

I wouldn't have been saying this five years ago, when the contest was held in Belfast and the world heavyweight champion boxer was grossly overweight, depressed, out of control, drug and booze-addled and mouthing homophobic and misogynistic bile.

There were calls for 'The Gypsy King' to be barred from that Belfast gig; now, however, it's Fury who doesn't want to be associated with SPOTY, not the other way round.

It's truly remarkable how the bad boy of boxing has turned his life completely around since that epic 2015 victory over Wladimir Klitshko coincided with him going off the rails.

But two years later he had a remarkable epiphany, got himself clean and sober, completed one of sport's greatest comeback stories when he destroyed Deontay Wilder in the Vegas rematch- and still had enough energy to sing 'American Pie' to his long-suffering wife Paris and five children.

More importantly, perhaps, he has become the undisputed champion of mental health issues. that's what I call personality.

Belfast Telegraph


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