Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury, the controversial “Gypsy King” of boxing has seen his stock surge in the last 12 months. Now, finally, he might be on the verge of winning the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.

Having become increasingly known for his erratic behaviour, and extreme weight gain, many assumed that his days as a professional sportsman were over. Yet somehow he came back. Back to a championship fight with Deontay Wilder, and a performance in that fight which may have been the best of his career. Though he did not do quite enough to win, he secured a hugely credible draw, and observers were united in hailing the most entertaining heavyweight fight in years.

Last month Fury announced he had signed with ESPN for a 5 fight deal worth a reported £80 million. Boxing fans were dismayed by the news as it makes a rematch with the Showtime-contracted Wilder less likely. Fury maintains that such a fight is still possible, but that the new deal gives him more options – specifically the option to fight fellow British heavyweight Anthony Joshua.

Fury the World Star

It will also give him increased visibility, particularly in the United States. Since news broke of the deal, Fury has leaped in the running to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award, and is now quoted by PaddyPower as joint favourite with Anthony Joshua at 8/1. Next up is Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton at 9/1, then athlete Dina Asher-Smith at 10/1.

Fury has a complicated relationship with the Sports Personality of the Year Award. His inclusion on the 2015 longlist sparked protest, and even an online petition calling for his removal, due to his history of sexist and homophobic remarks.

According to Fury, “fter the anxiety, the weight I gained, the depression, the drinking and the drugs – it’s a Cinderella story and it is not over. I’m nearly seven-foot tall, weighed nearly 30-stone and I came out with the mental health issues. I’m fighting for more than just boxing. I’m happy to be here and I’m as healthy as a trout. They messed my record up with a blue tick on my record with the draw, but what a difference a year makes.”