How Tyson Fury went from to tortured champion who teetered on the brink of suicide to one of the favourites for SPOTY… despite only drawing with Wilder

You can expect the usual names to make the shortlist of potential winners: world F1 champion Lewis Hamilton will be in there as will Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and England’s World Cup Golden Boot-winning captain Harry Kane.

But there is one man that is making made a late charge to snatch a place on the shortlist.

Yes, after Tyson Fury’s epic battle with Deontay Wilder at the weekend the bookies’ have slashed their odds of the giant Mancunian winning the annual award to such an extent that he’s now third-favourite to win it.

And the funny thing is, if the Gypsy King does go on to take the SPOTY crown it will be the only title he has won all year.

So why is 30-year-old now in the reckoning?

Well, maybe it’s because his is a classic story of rehabilitation and redemption, a tale of one man battling his demons and emerging from that scrap a better man. Or so it seems.

It won’t be the first time Fury has been in with a shout of SPOTY success.

In 2015, fresh from beating Wladimir Klitschko to take the WBF, IBF, WBO, IBO, Lineal and The Ring heavyweight titles, he made it on to the shortlist.

But his appearance was not without controversy as fellow nominee, Olympic long jumper Greg Rutherford, threatened to pull out of the event in objection to Fury’s very public statements on homosexuality and the role of women in society.

It did not end there as Fury caused more consternation with his remarks about another SPOTY contender that year: heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Fury said she “slaps up good” and “looks quite fit in a dress".

As the media seized on his latest outburst and a public petition was launched to have him removed from the shortlist, Fury was unrepentant, telling one TV channel that his critics could “suck my balls” and that the people that signed the petition were just “50,000 wankers”.

Despite the clamour, Fury kept his place on the shortlist, eventually finishing fourth behind Ennis-Hill, Kevin Sinfield and winner Andy Murray.

He also took the opportunity to issue an apology.

The 6ft 9in boxer said: “I've said a lot of stuff in the past and none of it is with intentions to hurt anybody.

“It's all a bit of tongue in cheek and if I've said anything in the past that's hurt anybody, I apologise to anyone that's been hurt by it.”

The trouble for Fury was that he had said a lot of things to offend people.

He had likened homosexuality to paedophilia and labelled fellow boxers Tony Bellew and David Price “gay lovers”.

He had said he would “hang” his own sister if she was promiscuous and argued against the legalisation of abortion.

And, as mentioned, he had very specific opinions about the role of women in the modern world.

Fury said: “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.”

Fury, a practising Catholic, attributed his views to his religion, maintaining that if it was in the Bible then that was good enough for him.

He added: “My faith and my culture is all based on the Bible so if I follow that and that tells me it's wrong, then it's wrong for me.”

Fury had to calm his brothers down to stop 'massive brawl' after Wilder result

TYSON FURY says he was forced to calm his brothers down to prevent a "massive brawl" following his controversial split decision draw against Deontay Wilder.

The Gypsy King admitted he was left devastated by the result and labelled Mexican judge Alejandro Rochin "disgraceful" for his scorecard in Los Angeles.

Rochin scored the fight 115-111 in favour of Wilder for the WBC title causing ripples of anger among the boxing world.

Floyd Mayweather was just one of the boxing legends who thought Fury was completely robbed from one of the greatest sporting comebacks in history.

And Fury, who has demanded a rematch for the WBC title belt, admitted his camp was so furious with the result he was forced to play peacemaker to prevent any further trouble.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, he said: "I could not believe what I was hearing.

"That judge (Alejandro Rochin) – I don't know what fight he was watching I really don't.

"I tried to calm by brothers down, the last thing I wanted was a mass brawl which could have happened if I didn't calm the situation down."


But his triumphs in the ring hadn’t exactly led to solace out of it and though he had reached the pinnacle of his sport, Fury’s success would signal the start of a dramatic decline.

Twice he would pull out of a rematch with Klitschko, the second for being “medically unfit”.

Soon after, it was revealed that he also failed a drugs test, testing positive for cocaine, and he would be stripped of his world titles and his boxing license.

With nothing to do, Fury’s life spiralled into chaos. He would spend his weeks lost in alcohol and cocaine binges and with drink and drugs – he admitted drinking up to 100 pints a week – came depression.

And without the focus of any upcoming fights, Fury also piled on the pounds, topping the scales at over 28.5 stones.

He said: “I woke up every day wishing I would not wake up any more.

"This belly was out here, this back was out here. I had wings on me. I'm disfigured for life. I've got stretch marks all over my body."

It proved to be the turning point for Fury and when his boxing license was returned him in January this year, it was the catalyst for a transformation in both his life and his career.

Helped by nutritionist Greg Marriott, Fury adopted a fat-burning ketogenic diet, consuming between 3,500 and 5,000 calories per day but burning most of that in arduous gym sessions.

Less than a year later, Fury stepped into the ring to face Wilder around ten stones lighter than at his heaviest.

Leaner and clearly keener, he looked every inch the fighter that had stunned the boxing world with his win over Klitschko in November 2015.

Fury said: "Boxing is like a marriage – you have to work at it. You do fall in and out of love.

“But I have spiced it back up again, bought her some sexy lingerie and we are back at it, better than ever.”

But is really he a changed man? Well, maybe. After his fight with Wilder, he spoke to the media and openly encouraged those people suffering with mental health issues to seek the help they need.

After Saturday night's fight, he said: “I am not a special human being. I am a normal man.

"I wasn't just down for me and my family, I was representing people with mental health problems around the world. I had to continue and carry on.

“I fought back from thinking about suicide, mental health, depression, anxiety. I wanted more than anything to show the world it can be done. Anything is possible with the right mindset.”

BBC Sports Personality of the Year takes place at Birmingham’s Genting Area on Sunday, 16 December.

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