Boxing: Tyson Fury escapes punishment, warned to avoid controversial comments

Tyson Fury speaks during the Heavyweight Champion Homecoming Press Conference.
Tyson Fury speaks during the Heavyweight Champion Homecoming Press Conference. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Wednesday escaped punishment for his controversial remarks on women, homosexuality and abortion with British boxing chiefs backing his right to free speech.

Fury faced a backlash for the comments he made before and after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko in November to capture the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. But the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoc) said they could not sanction the fighter as he hadn't broken the law.

"Tyson Fury has made comments in the media that have caused offence to members of our society. However, there is no suggestion that he has broken the law by exercising his right to freedom of expression," said a statement by the governing body.

"In such circumstances, the stewards of the British Boxing Board of Control have been advised that it cannot interfere with his basic human rights.

"Having said that, the stewards made it clear to him that as world heavyweight champion, arguably the holder of the most prestigious title in sport, there are heavy responsibilities upon him to avoid making controversial, non-boxing comments.

"He has assured the stewards that he understands the responsibilities upon him and has expressed regret that he has caused offence to others, which was never his intention."

Fury, 27, was widely condemned for his remarks in a December interview and was briefly the subject of a police investigation.

"Homosexuality, abortion and paedophilia - them three things need to be accomplished before the world finishes. That's what the Bible tells me," he said.

Fury also stated that a woman's place was "in the kitchen and on her back".

But in a further interview, he denied that he was sexist or homophobic.

"I'm not a homophobe, I'm not a sexist, I'm not any of those," he said. "I'm not a bigot, I'm not a racist, I am a gypsy. I've (had people) being racist towards me for the past 27 years."