Saturday 1 October 2016

Journalist strenuously denies misquoting Tyson Fury over controversial homosexuality view

Tom Rooney

Published 01/12/2015 | 20:26

Boxing - Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Title's - Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany - 28/11/15
Tyson Fury celebrates winning the fight
Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
Livepic
Boxing - Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Title's - Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany - 28/11/15 Tyson Fury celebrates winning the fight Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic

The journalist to whom heavyweight champion Tyson Fury made a series of comments about homosexuality, abortion and paedophilia during an interview has described the experience as unsettling.

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Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko via unanimous decision for the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight titles in Dusseldorf on Saturday night, though the achievement has been considerably marred.

Manchester-born Fury gave an interview to the Mail on Sunday’s Oliver Holt which was published on November 7. In it, the 27-year-old devout Christian made a number of off colour remarks about homosexuality, abortion and paedophilia.

“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. Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised,” Fury said.

The backlash has been severe, and more amplified since his victory over the weekend, which saw him short-listed for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. However, speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1 this morning, Fury claimed to have been misquoted by Holt.

On RTE 2’s Game On, Holt responded by telling Damian O’Meara that he had not deliberately sought to elicit such comments from Fury, nor did he present them in an unfavourable light.

“It was pretty much unprompted,” Holt claimed. “I’m aware that he’s saying that I took his remarks out of context. As you and I are probably both aware that’s a familiar refrain sometimes from people who have said something they wished they hadn’t said.”

The journalist went on to say that he had initially queried about Fury’s mental health early in their meeting in light of an interview he had given some years previously to the Guardian’s Donald McCrae, which led to the boxer speaking about the renewal of his Christian faith and, in turn, issues of sexuality.

“In that interview Tyson Fury had spoken about battling depression and low moments when he felt like crashing his car into a wall. I referenced this interview and asked how he was feeling now,” said Holt.

“His answer to that was that he was in a much better place and the main reason for that was that he returned- I’m going to paraphrase now- that he re-embraced his faith and was channelling all his energy through god.

“He spoke very well. But someone can speak well and still be very unsettling; it was certainly unsettling for the reasons we talked about, but anyway that was the context.”

Fury has said that much of his more controversial statements were made only as a means of promoting his bout with Klitschko, and O’Meara asked Holt whether he believed that to be the case.

“It’s not your normal way to hype a fight. I felt that he was sincere; I didn’t feel it was a ruse. At one point he started going on about Klitschko being a devil-worshipper, who was involved with satanic rituals.

“The other stuff I felt was real. Rightly or wrongly, he spoke very well about it and very passionately about it. It may have been hype; I don’t know. If it was hype why he is he so keen to deny that he said it?"

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