Tyson Fury is to be investigated by police over his outspoken comments about homosexuality.
The newly-crowned world heavyweight boxing champion, who is due in Belfast later this month for the Sports Personality (SPOTY) of the Year awards, has caused outrage with rants about the role of women in society, same-sex relationships and paedophilia.
On Tuesday night, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed they had received a complaint on Tuesday morning and were investigating whether comments made in a BBC Radio interview constituted a hate crime.
Officers will now speak to the complainant and record a statement from him.
Speaking to the News Letter, a GMP spokeswoman said: “We are taking it very seriously, as we do with all hate crime reports, and we will be attending the victim’s address for them to make a statement as soon as possible.”
Commenting on whether Fury was likely to face arrest, or the prospect of being asking to attend a police station for interview, the spokeswoman added: “There will be an investigation and we will take it from there.”
The Scottish National Party are among those calling for Fury to be de-selected as one of those shortlisted for the SPOTY award.
By Tuesday evening the online petition at Change.org had attracted almost 98,000 signatures.
However, a spokeswoman for the BBC said the 27-year-old would be in Belfast as expected: “Tyson Fury’s victory and subsequent crowning as world heavy weight champion was widely covered by media outlets and his inclusion on the shortlist is similarly recognition of his sporting achievement - it is not about endorsing his personal views.
“It will be for the public to decide who will be crowned Sports Personality of the Year 2015.”
Following his unexpected defeat of Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in Germany last month, Fury became one of the bookies’ favourites to win the SPOTY award, but his subsequent remarks and Twitter posts have led to his 4/1 price drifting to 20/1 with William Hill.
In one newspaper interview, he said: “There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home. One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other is paedophilia.”
He then angered many when he said heptathlete, and fellow SPOTY candidate Jessica Ennis-Hill, “looks quite fit when she’s got a dress on” - as well as suggesting that “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen or on her back”.