Wythenshawe-born heavyweight boxing champion , Tyson Fury has missed out on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award amid protests by equality campaigners.
The boxer, who trained in Wythenshawe and was brought up in nearby Styal in Cheshire, was crowned heavyweight champion after beating Wladimir Klitschko last month,
His place on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist was controversial after he was criticised for comments he made about homosexuality and women.
A picket was staged at the ceremony venue in Belfast by equality campaigners.
And Fury apologised for the comments at ceremony saying: “I’ve said a lot stuff not with intention to hurt anyone. A lot of it was tongue in cheek. I’m not a serious person. If I’ve said anything in the past that’s hurt anybody, I’m sorry. It’s not my intention to do that.”
Dubbed the Gypsy King because of his Irish traveller heritage, Fury’s boxing talent was forged in the Jimmy Egan Boxing Academy in Royalthorn Road, Wythenshawe.
His first coach was Steve Egan, who runs the club. He predicted in 2006 that Fury would be heavyweight champion by 2015 and undisputed heavyweight champion by 2016.
Fury said at the ceremony: “It’s took 27 years to get to where I am now. There are seven billion people on the planet and there’s only one heavy weight champion. I’m very proud of that.”
The big-punching Ghanaian has 18 KOs from 19 wins, alongside seven defeats, and will be determined to claim the WBC Youth Gold light-middleweight title against the local unbeaten favourite.
With a shot at the Lonsdale Belt imminent, ‘Kilrain’ Kelly knows he cannot afford any slip ups at this stage of his career and says he is fully-focused on bagging win number fifteen against his dangerous rival.
“He turned pro very young, and lost some early fights but he’s been on a good run for a while now,” explained Jimmy, who has stopped six opponents. “Obviously some of the guys he’s knocked out haven’t been up to a high standard, but I’m not looking at his record as though it’s a lie; it’s reality that he’s knocked out 18 fully-grown men.
“I know what he does, and I won’t be taking him lightly. I’m not under any illusions, it’s going to be a hard fight and I’m mentally prepared for that. I’m confident and really looking forward to it.”
Firmly established in the UK top-ten rankings, and with current domestic belt-holder Liam Smith likely to vacate soon, Jimmy’s shot at the British title is tantalisingly close. Not a fighter to hand-pick opponents, Kelly says he’ll take on anyone for the number-one spot and is confident he will soon be seen as the man to beat.
“After this fight I should be made mandatory for the British title,” stated the 22-year-old. “There’s no one doing what I’m doing in the division. The lad I’m fighting, neither Eddie Hearn nor Frank Warren would be putting any of their prospects in with such a dangerous puncher, but I took the fight at the ‘drop of a hat’.
“Outside Liam Smith and Brian Rose, this lad is better than everyone else in the division and if I beat him, then anyone I fight for the British title will be a step back. I rate Liam Smith but I think he’s got one eye on the world level now. Brian Rose has got the rematch with Carson Jones and I’d love the winner of that one. Whoever they put in front of me, I’ll fight.”
VIP Promotions presents Wythenshawe’s Jimmy Kelly versus Ghana’s Isaac Ayree for the WBC Youth Gold light-middleweight title at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on June 20.
Also appearing will be Blackburn’s Morgan Jackson; Lower Darwen’s AJ Faizy; Leigh’s Declan West; Salford’s Lee Gillespie; Liverpool’s Steve Brogan; New Moston’s Chris Conwell; Oldham’sAndy Kremner; and Heywood’s Mark Thomson.
The show will also be streamed live and free at vipboxing.tv