Undefeated WBC champion is fourth favourite for award and widely expected to be on shortlist, announced next week by BBC
Tyson Fury has threatened legal action against the BBC if he is included on the shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year.
The undefeated World Boxing Council heavyweight champion is fourth favourite for the award and widely expected to be on the shortlist when it is announced next week but says the BBC will “hear from his solicitors” if he is named.
It is the second year running that Fury has demanded not to be included in the contenders for the award, which will be announced on Dec 19. The 33-year-old’s extraordinary triumph in a trilogy fight with arch-rival Deontay Wilder in October 9 in Las Vegas means he is certain to be chosen.
“It means nothing to me and I don’t need it or want it,” Fury told Telegraph Sport. “In fact, they will hear from my solicitors if they do put me on the list. Give it to someone who needs it. I don’t.
“And, anyway, we know who the sports personality of the year is anyway – it’s me. I am the sports personality. Who does what I do, goes through a war in Las Vegas, entertains the fans, and then sings to the audience?”
Last year, Fury took the unprecedented step of using Good Morning Britain to announce that he had instructed his lawyers to write to the Corporation demanding his name be removed from the shortlist, having written similar in an Instagram post.
Lewis Hamilton was last year’s winner in a list that also included Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson and Hollie Doyle. On his social-media channel, Fury explained his view that he had “no need for verification or any awards” having declared himself the “people’s champion”.
The BBC declined to acquiesce to Fury’s request and made public its intention to keep the boxer on the list. The shortlist, a BBC spokesperson said, had been drawn up by an “independent expert panel who choose contenders based on their sporting achievement in a given year”.
In February of last year, Fury had claimed the WBC heavyweight title with a dominant seventh-round stoppage of Wilder, in their second contest in Las Vegas.
Fury’s fraught relationship with Sports Personality dates back to 2015, when a petition demanding his removal drew 100,000 signatures after sexist and homophobic remarks. Fury attended the ceremony that year, having claimed the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles from long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko.
In 2018, Fury was omitted from the list in spite of taking part in one of the most thrilling sporting events of the year when he rose from the canvas in the 12th round against Wilder in a fight that ended in a controversial draw.
“They wouldn’t give it to me and give me credit if I won 50 world title belts from the people who put it on, and I don’t care,” Fury said. “I should have won it three times already. I’ve got my wife and my kids. That’s all the awards I need. I’ll sue [the BBC] if they put me on.”
Emma Raducanu is favourite for this year’s award with Tom Daley, Adam Peaty and Hamilton – if he wins his eighth world title – among other contenders.