Boxing

Tyson Fury is an unpopular contender for Sports Personality Of The Year.

Gabby: I don't want Tyson Fury to win but he must be on Spoty shortlist

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Gabby Logan has defended boxer Tyson Fury's inclusion on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year but said she would be "disappointed" if he were to win.

Fury - who defeated Wladimir Klitschko to become a world heavyweight champion last month - has been accused of equating homosexuality with paedophilia, joking about being violent to women, and saying a woman's "best place is on her back".

A petition to have him removed from the 12-strong SPOTY shortlist reached more than 130,000 signatures, but the BBC and its director general Lord Hall have rejected the call.

Now Logan, who will present the awards show alongside Gary Lineker and Clare Balding, has said it was right for his sporting achievement to be recognised.

She told the Guardian: "He's on the list because of his sport. That is the argument that the BBC has put forward, and we all buy into it because that's the truth of it. He's not on the list for his opinions, clearly.

"This whole idea that we just shut people up, that's not the way forward. I'd rather have the debate about why what he says, in my eyes, is wrong than tell him to shut up and go away. Because he's not going to stop thinking or believing that, and he's not going to stop spouting it, so why don't we have a conversation about it?"

But she added she found his views "objectionable" and when asked how she would feel if he won the public vote, said: "I'd genuinely feel confused. Are people voting because they think his achievements from a sporting viewpoint are head and shoulders above the rest? So much so that they can ignore the stuff around him? I would be a bit disappointed. I'd think, 'Are people tying to be ironic?'."

Fury's inclusion on the list has been discussed by MPs, with shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher calling for him to be dropped and sports minister Tracey Crouch saying she would remind him that as a sports star, he is a role model.

The winner will be announced in a live programme on BBC1 on Sunday.

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