Controversial boxer Tyson Fury has confirmed he will attend the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards (SPOTY) in Belfast on Sunday night.
Fury, who beat Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko last month to become the world’s top heavyweight, has caused outrage with a series of comments condemning homosexuality.
Gay rights groups opposed to the inclusion of the outspoken, committed Christian on the SPOTY shortlist are to stage a protest outside the SSE Arena ahead of the star-studded ceremony.
Confirming Fury’s attendance in Belfast, his promoter Hennessy Sports said their boxer is “known for his charisma” and larger-than-life personality.
“Fury is considered a breath of fresh air in boxing’s heavyweight division and has quickly emerged as one of the most recognisable and polarising sportsmen on the planet,” a Hennessy spokesman said.
“In terms of the magnitude of his achievement this year, he stands alone in Britain. And, in terms of personality, few in the world can claim to be bigger,” he added.
In a recent interview with a Sunday newspaper, Fury 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 one’s paedophilia.”
The Manchester-based fighter has also been accused of sexism after a video emerged of him saying fellow SPOTY contender Jessica Ennis-Hill “slaps up good”, before adding: “A woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back.”