Tyson Fury has revealed he has sent a letter from his lawyers to the BBC in an attempt to be removed from the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.
The world heavyweight champion said he asked “politely” when he posted an Instagram message earlier this month. But he has now taken further steps to be removed from the list of contenders.
He told Good Morning Britain: “I have asked nicely in a video to be taken off the list and they decided that they were not going to take me off the list. So I have had my lawyers send them a letter demanding that I am taken off the list and let’s hope they listen and take me off the list.”
Fury wrote on his Instagram account earlier this month: “This is a message for bbcsport and their SPOTY award – please take me off your list as I’m the people’s champion and have no need for verification or any awards,” he wrote. “I know who I am and what I’ve done in the sport. I have the love of the people which means more to me than all the awards in the world. To anyone who supports me, don’t vote.”
Fury’s initial inclusion on this year’s SPOTY list had sparked controversy given he has previously served a two-year doping ban and is under active investigation by the UK Anti-Doping Agency following allegations that a member of Tyson Fury’s team offered a farmer £25,000 to provide a false defence after the heavyweight champion failed a drug test in 2015.
Fury’s previous appearance on the shortlist in 2015 caused controversy, with more than 100,000 people signing a petition calling for the boxer’s removal over a series of outspoken comments on homophobia and abortion. But in 2018 Fury’s omission from the final list, following his draw against Deontay Wilder, drew criticism from the boxer’s camp, including his then trainer Ben Davison, who called the decision a “shame”.
This year’s shortlist also includes Lewis Hamilton, the early favourite, plus Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson and Hollie Doyle.
The fighter also went on to discuss facing Anthony Joshua in what would be one of the most highly anticipated fights in decades. He said it would be “one of the most explosive, quickest fights we will ever see” and was “optimistic” it would happen. “I am aiming to take him out inside four rounds,” said Fury. “He is standing in my way of total supremacy in my era. Immortality awaits. I am one win away from it.”