“I’m not sexist,” declared Tyson Fury. “I believe a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back. That’s my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe.”
And about Jessica Ennis-Hill: “That’s the runner, isn’t it? She’s good, she’s won quite a few medals, she slaps up good as well. When she’s got a dress on she looks quite fit.”
Add remarks seemingly equating homosexuality and abortion with paedophilia, and it isn’t difficult to form an opinion about the 27 year-old recently crowned World Heavyweight boxing champion… and it’s certainly not a particularly flattering opinion.
I have read that Fury is a religious man… a born-again Christian apparently. I disagree totally with his beliefs and comments, but I suppose he has as much right as anyone to air his views.
Or does he?
In the overall scheme of things, my opinion is of no consequence. I’m not even sure if the people living two doors down the street know who I am… far less care about what I have to say. However in defeating Wladimir Kitschko, Fury not only reached the pinnacle of his chosen sport, he (almost by definition) became a role model.
For me, elevation to the kind of lofty status that brings worldwide fame and no lack of financial reward is accompanied by an albeit unwritten code to preserve the reputation of the sport in question—and the ability to step away from causing needless controversy.
To overcome the Ukrainian was an undeniably fantastic achievement, and in my opinion the performance warrants Fury’s inclusion in the twelve-strong shortlist for Sunday’s Sports Personality of the Year Award.
But he won’t win.
And in fairness, he wouldn’t have won whether or not he’d opened his mouth to impart his own brand of self-perceived “wisdom”—his comments have just brought proverbial nail and coffin together one final time. The real reason why Fury will not be collecting this particular sporting accolade is that several other candidates simply have better credentials.
Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton and maybe Chris Froome will have their supporters, but my idea of the winner is Jessica Ennis-Hill; you know… “the runner”… or as I prefer to describe her: “the finest all-round female athlete on the planet”.
To win a world title in any multi-disciplinary athletic event is a staggering accomplishment, requiring dedication and determination and skills that are way beyond my imagination. Jessica had climbed that mountain twice before, claiming World Championship heptathlon gold in Berlin in 2009, before her golden success at London 2012, achieved despite the massive pressure of being the media-created “poster girl” of the first home Olympic Games since 1948.
To then be crowned World Champion once again, a little over a year after giving birth to her first child, takes her actual feat to a level that none of the other contenders can match. As well as being a supreme athlete, she comes across as a charming, engaging young woman and a brilliant ambassador for her sport…
I reckon that ticks all the boxes.
It’s great to see rugby league represented in the final twelve, and Kevin Sinfield’s presence amongst the nation’s sporting elite is a richly deserved accolade for a man who has served Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain with such courage and distinction. I would love to see him placed in the top three, although I would concede that contenders from sports with a higher national profile may be more popular with voters.
It’s just a shame that the individual and collective achievements of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Kevin Sinfield et al have almost been superseded by the crass remarks of a man who should arguably let his ability in the ring do all his talking for him.
As some of you will know it is a bit of a bugbear of mine that Fury’s camp seems intent on portraying the fighter as the new Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, but claims that Tyson Fury “shook up the world” in defeating Wladimir Klitschko are way off the mark in my opinion. True it was a fine performance against a great, but ageing champion… but I really can’t see any valid comparison between the Klitschko of 2015, and the Sonny Liston that stepped through those ropes in February 1964.
Maybe Fury and his entourage think that being outspoken is in some way another similarity with “the Greatest”… well Ali’s wit was as fast as his feet and lightning fists, and he was genuinely funny to the point that you almost forgot he was often trying to get under the skin of an opponent. I’ve watched an awful lot of archive footage and can’t recall any remarks of the general and demeaning nature attributed to Tyson Fury. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… comparisons are frankly pointless; there will only ever be one “Greatest”.
A few months short after Cassius Clay took Liston’s world title, British heptathlete Mary Rand was named the 1964 Sports Personality of the Year after her exploits during the Tokyo Olympics. She is rated by some as the finest all-round British athlete there has ever been, and perhaps it would be fitting if Jessica Ennis-Hill, surely the best of her generation, stepped up to receive the same award on Sunday....