World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has apologised for comments he made in an hour-long video rant, saying he is “in no way a racist or bigot”.
Fury caused controversy after making homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic remarks in the interview last week, which led to widespread calls for him to be banned from boxing.
“I apologise to anyone who may have taken offence at any of my comments,” Fury said in a statement. “I said some things, which may have hurt some people, which as a Christian man is not something I would ever want to do.
“Though it is not an excuse, sometimes the heightened media scrutiny has caused me to act out in public. I mean no harm or disrespect to anyone and I know more is expected of me as an ambassador of British boxing and I promise in future to hold myself up to the highest possible standard.
“Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am in no way a racist or bigot and I hope the public accept this apology.”
Fury has previously been accused of sexism and homophobia and also made controversial remarks about Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.
In his latest outburst, he claimed “Zionist, Jewish people … own all the banks, all the papers, all the TV stations”.
He made personal attacks against Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in the run-up to their rematch fight in July and voiced views on bestiality, paedophilia and women during the 57-minute clip.
After becoming embroiled in the controversy, Fury became involved in a fresh row with former world champion Barry McGuigan.
McGuigan, a former world featherweight champion and who now works as a promoter, wrote in a column for the Daily Mirror that Fury was “like a child (who) has no filter, no off button” and described himself as “lucky” for having tried and failed to sign the 27-year-old, who faces Wladimir Klitschko on July 9 in a rematch for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
McGuigan added: “Kids have parents bringing them into line. No one says no to Fury. This is brazen attention-seeking, self-evidently offensive, insulting, abusive and wrong. If one of my fighters behaved like Fury he would be out the door.”
Fury tweeted in response to McGuigan’s comments: “u are a traitor to your home country, gave up your Irish title to fight for the British, & u backdoor people in biznuess,#C5”.
A number of social media users leapt to the defence of McGuigan, who is widely credited with helping to bring a degree of unity to Northern Ireland through his sporting exploits in the 1980s.