Tyson Fury has refused to apologise for his controversial homophobic and sexist comments that have overshadowed his crowning as the world heavyweight champion. The Briton beat Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf to win the WBA, WBO and IBF boxing championship belts, but celebrations have been quelled by a series of prejudice remarks.
Following Fury's momentous victory in Germany the unbeaten Manchester-born fighter was named as one of 12 nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. However, 51,000 people have signed a petition calling for him to be dropped from the shortlist. Fury has caused consternation for comments regarding fellow-nominee Jessica Ennis-Hill – the heptathlon world champion – women in boxing and homosexuality and abortion.
Making his first public appearance since winning the world titles in Carshalton to watch his cousin Hughie Fury, the 27-year-old broke his silence over the criticism of his remarks. The unbeaten boxer says he has no plans to change in the wake of the public outcry and has attempted to justify his opinions.
'Everybody looks beautiful in a dress' – Fury
"You can never let yourself go too far, so I'm here supporting my cousin Hughie who was out with me in Germany, and Lenny Daws, a great pro who has been with my promoter Mick Hennessy the same time as me for seven years, I'm just here lending my support," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Titles and glory and money only change a man if they want to change. I was happy the way I was when I didn't have anything and I'm still happy the way I am today.
"I am aware of my position as the heavyweight champion of the world and the responsibility that this brings. I am also aware of my position as a role model and I hope to be a positive ambassador for the sport of boxing for many years to come."
Speaking to fight broadcasters Channel 5, Fury added: "Listen, I'm the heavyweight champion of the world and people look up to me. If there's any women in here tonight wearing dresses, I think everybody looks beautiful in a dress. If I am going to get in trouble for giving women compliments for wearing a dress, then what has the world come to?"
The BBC have no plans to remove Fury's name from the list of 12 nominees for the annual Sports Personality of the Year award, a shortlist which includes Davis Cup winner Andy Murray, double world champion Mo Farah and Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Fury has reacted to the criticism by claiming he has no ambitions of winning the award which will be determined by a public vote.
"I don't even want to win it to be honest," he added. "They should give it to someone who would appreciate it."