By Mark Staniforth, PA
Tyson Fury has demanded the BBC take him off this year’s list of contenders for the Sports Personality of the Year award, and implored his supporters not to vote for him.
Fury was one of six athletes shortlisted this week for the award, alongside Lewis Hamilton, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson and Hollie Doyle.
The world heavyweight champion wrote on his Instagram account: “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.
“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 previous appearance on the shortlist in 2015 caused controversy, with over 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 winner will be revealed on December 20th. A BBC spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.