The heavyweight boxer failed to make it on the six-strong shortlist despite coming close to securing one of the great sporting comebacks
Tyson Fury was the surprise omission when the nominees for the 2018 BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) were announced at the start of Sunday’s show.
The heavyweight boxer was among the bookmakers’ favourites for the prestigious prize after his dramatic draw with Deontay Wilder earlier this month, but failed to make the shortlist of six.
In a break from tradition, the BBC delayed naming the nominees until the programme itself and the British public was given the choice of crowning England bowler James Anderson, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, England captain Harry Kane, Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and two-time Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold as the winner.
Thomas was voted the winner at Sunday’s ceremony in Birmingham, with Hamilton second and Kane third.
The decision not to include Fury on the shortlist stunned many from the world of boxing, including the British fighter’s trainer Ben Davison and promoter Frank Warren.
The 30-year-old battled issues with drink, drugs and depression and spent more than two years out of a boxing ring before returning to the sport in 2018.
He came agonisingly close to ending the year as heavyweight champion of the world once more, producing a stunning performance against WBC champion Wilder which ended in a controversial draw.
Warren described the snub as an ‘absolute joke’, while Davison wrote on Twitter: “What an opportunity for @BBCSPOTY to do there part in raising awareness for mental health and many other things, to help inspire people.
“For a man to come back from where he has, while at the same time saving thousands of lives along with inspiring millions. Shame on them.”
It is understood, however, that the six-strong shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year was decided before Fury’s sensational display against Wilder on December 1.
The panel of sporting celebrities and media figures who decided on the list met around three weeks ago.
They could have added Fury to the nominees but that would have meant removing one of the other names on the shortlist and they decided not to.
Fury instead had to settle for being added to the list being considered for the Greatest Sporting Moment award.
“Very proud. It’s been a long hard road, plenty of left and right turns,” he said, as he attended the ceremony in Birmingham.
“But I think it’s been the best year of my life to be honest. I have no interest in boxing at the moment. I want to talk Christmas.
“The shirt reminds me of me and my darling wife, having a dance. That’s why I’ve put it on.”