>> Is Tyson Fury fit to fight Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight title? Read his vile homophobic slurs and bizarre rants about devil worshippers and Armageddon...
La police anglaise a ouvert une enquête visant Tyson Fury, récent champion du monde WBA-IBF-WBO, pour des propos tenus récemment sur l'homosexualité, a annoncé à l'AFP mardi une porte-parole de la police de Manchester.
Lors d'une émission de radio mardi matin, la BBC a organisé un débat sur des propos de Fury à l'hebdomadaire Mail on Sunday parus dimanche, où il estimait que trois choses devaient être réunies « pour la fin du monde ».
« L'une d'entre elle, c'est la légalisation dans des pays de l'homosexualité, une autre c'est l'avortement et la dernière, c'est la pédophilie », a-t-il déclaré. « Qui aurait pensé dans les années 1950 ou 1960 que les deux premiers seraient légalisés? », avait-il ajouté.
Après cette émission de la BBC, un auditeur a appelé la police, estimant que les propos du boxeur constituaient un « crime de haine ». L'enquête de la police de Manchester, qui prend l'affaire « très au sérieux », devra notamment déterminer s'il y a matière à interroger Fury, a précisé la porte-parole.
Le boxeur, fervent croyant, s'est défendu de toute homophobie ou de sexisme, expliquant seulement se référer à la Bible.
Le sulfureux Fury, qui clame son amour du « Sauveur Jésus Christ », a déjà récemment défrayé la chronique avec des propos sur les femmes. «La position d'une femme, c'est dans la cuisine et sur le dos, c'est mon avis personnel», a-t-il lancé dans une vidéo le 25 novembre, et passée quelque peu inaperçue sur YouTube.
Fury est nommé pour le titre de sportif de l'année de la BBC, après sa victoire contre l'Ukrainien Vladimir Klitschko, détenant ainsi les ceintures WBO-IBF-WBA des lourds.
Près de 105.000 personnes ont signé une pétition en Angleterre demandant à la BBC de retirer Fury de la liste des prétendants à ce titre.
La BBC s'est défendue en expliquant que cette récompense n'est en rien «une approbation des convictions personnelles» d'un sportif.
>> Tyson Fury is sitting on a sofa in his hotel room. His bed is unmade. A pillow lies on the floor. An empty water bottle sits on the table. Apart from that, the room is bare.
The conversation has just started and Fury is talking in a stream of consciousness, fast and freely. Things turn dark very, very quickly.
‘We live in an evil world,’ he says. ‘The devil is very strong at the minute, very strong, and I believe the end is near. The bible tells me the end is near. The world tells me the end is near. Just a short few years, I reckon, away from being finished.
‘Abusing the planet, the wars in the Middle East, the famines, the earthquakes, the natural disasters, all these things are talked about 2000 years ago before they even happened. Prophesised. So now it’s all coming true…’
Fury is an engaging, complicated character
There is a breathlessness about his speech and an intensity, too. He is an articulate man and his words are littered with references to the scriptures. It feels as if he has taken sections of the Old Testament and swallowed them whole. There is no filter. He begins to make sweeping and repugnant statements about what he interprets as the evils that he says are hurrying us towards the apocalypse. It is hard not to feel worried about his mental well-being. He says that always happens when men are ‘filled up with God’.
‘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?
‘When I say paedophiles can be made legal, that sounds like crazy talk doesn’t it? But back in the 50s and early 60s, for them first two to be made legal would have been looked on as a crazy man again. If I would have told you 120 years ago, that a 1000-tonne aeroplane is going to float through the sky, a piece of steel — ludicrous.
‘When Christopher Columbus said the world was round, he’s an idiot. All these things that happen in the world, wise men already know they’re going to happen and they see what they really are.
‘Foolish people follow the system, get caught up in media news, what the government wants you to believe and all the higher powers want you to believe and go down the same path as all the sheep in the cattle market.’
At this stage of the conversation, it is pointed out to Fury, with some understatement, that a lot of people will be uncomfortable with his view of homosexuality.
‘This is a funny world we live in and an evil world,’ Fury says. ‘People can say, “Oh, you are against abortions, you are against paedophilia, you are against homosexuality, you’re against whatever”, but my faith and my culture is all based on the bible. The bible was written a long time ago, from the beginning of time until now, and if I follow that and it tells me it’s wrong, then it’s wrong for me. That’s just my opinion.
Will Klitschko criticise Fury?
Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is busy training in Germany as he prepares for the November 28 showdown with Tyson Fury in Dusseldorf.
But the 39-year-old is due to speak to the media this week and it will be interesting to see whether he addresses the controversial comments made by Fury in the build-up to their fight.
After Fury dressed up as Batman, Klitschko said he must have ‘mental issues’.
‘How many people have different opinions in this world? Every different person has a different opinion of what that bottle really is or what colour it is. If I say that bottle is clear, there will be someone out there telling me that bottle is green or blue.
‘My opinion is that I follow what the Lord says. Or I try to. Others are following what they want to do, basically. They are living for their self. I am living for God.
‘When you see a man who is filled up with God, you think he’s round the bend. When a man’s highly spirited for the Lord, you think, “This guy’s lost his marbles, he’s a nutcase”. If ever you want to get rid of somebody you don’t want to talk to, just mention God. They’re out of there.’
Fury, a former British heavyweight champion who is 6ft 9ins tall, leaps up off the sofa for a minute and strides over to the window. He is painting a picture of a man swept away by his beliefs and yet there is a curious lack of emotion in his voice and on his face.
Maybe he will divest himself of these views as quickly as he has acquired them. Maybe they are merely a symptom of a confused mind and a misplaced attempt to promote a fight. But they raise serious concerns about the influence Fury might have on those who look up to him, particularly if he beats Wladimir Klitschko in his world-title fight on November 28 and his platform grows.
‘Darkness doesn’t want to hear about the light,’ he says, as he stands by the window. ‘Evil don’t want to hear about goodness. That’s my job: to spread the word. Look at me, how happy I am. I am overflowing with happiness and joy for God. I am in a beautiful place at the moment.’
Fury can see the hills from his room at a hotel attached to Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium. He is three weeks away from his delayed fight against Klitschko, 39, which will take place in Dusseldorf, and he bends the recent strengthening of his faith into a vivid but fanciful narrative of how his bout with the Ukrainian fight icon is a struggle between good and evil.
The heavyweight champion sarcastically applauds his opponent, whom he has said must have 'mental issues'
Much of what Fury says is disturbing. Maybe that is because it feels like slapstick that is missing a beat. Maybe it is because Fury specialises in unsettling people. He is a compelling talker but he is not an urbane man. There is an uneasy watchfulness about him. He prides himself on being awkward.
‘Awkwardness to the utmost, highest level,’ he says. ‘Whatever is conventional, I am the opposite. If you want to walk in a straight line, I am going to walk in zig-zags. If you want to throw a one-two, I’ll throw a two-one. I don’t want to be an ordinary person. Because if you are ordinary, you do ordinary things.’
Fury is part of the travelling heritage but he has never lived on a traveller site. He smiles at that idea. He grew up in the village of Styal, near Wilmslow, in Cheshire. His childhood was not easy. His mother and father, a former pro fighter known as ‘Gypsy’ John Fury, had an abusive, violent relationship. His father has just completed a prison term for malicious wounding, an assault that cost the victim his eye.
Fury, though, never strays far from the issue of his faith. Experience teaches us that fighters create constructs to sell fights but much of what he says does not have that sense. These are dark materials he is using. These are not the standard lines of savvy fight promoters.
This is not Fury rushing around a press conference in a Batman suit, wrestling with an actor dressed up as The Joker, playing it for laughs and trying to wind up a sophisticated opponent like Klitschko, who regarded the proceedings at that pre-fight caper in London with barely-concealed disdain.
Is this all for real? It betrays a mind racing with the size of the task ahead and the reality that fighting Klitschko, who has held a version of the heavyweight title for 10 years, is a considerable step up in class from anyone he has faced before.
Fury, wearing a Free Palestine flag, skips during a training session in preparation for that fight
Fury’s misjudged good-versus-evil narrative is a mechanism he is using to convince himself he cannot lose, even if it lapses into absurdism with a series of outlandish and unfounded allegations about Klitschko and the Ukrainian’s own religious beliefs.
‘Goliath was a champion, a monster who had never been beaten, and then this young guy, David, came forward, a child who believed in God and did it,’ Fury says. ‘God gave him the power. What was right will always prevail over wrong. Good will always prevail over evil. I see that in me versus Klitschko. To be honest with you, I know Klitschko is a devil-worshipper. They are involved in bigger circles and stuff like that and they do magic tricks and whatever. You can go on YouTube and watch them playing with magic.
‘All these rock stars and singers and these famous people, it is common knowledge that they are all involved in an occult group of Satan-worshippers and all that sort of stuff. A man who does evil things and worships an evil one, how can he win over a man who wants to do good things and preach good stuff?
‘It ain’t going to happen. He can’t beat me now. Now I know what he is — a devil-worshipper — I know he has no chance of beating me. God will not let him defeat me, not at all. I am almost a thousand per cent certain that he cannot beat me.
‘If I want to do good to others and help people and you have got a man who wants to do bad things and is preaching bad stuff and is all about money and gain and holding everything close to him and evil stuff conspiring, who is going to be victorious in the long run?
‘Maybe I’m going to get in trouble, maybe I’m going to have someone come here and try and assassinate me for saying it. They are powerful people. But he who practises evil will never prosper. They live for this world. I don’t.’
John Fury poses with his son earlier this year before Tyson's victory over Christian Hammer
It is a theme which Fury likes. He certainly thinks his belief in an afterlife might unnerve Klitschko. So he continues with it. He says, ‘It is not really a concern to me what happens to flesh.’ He says seeing the body of his beloved Uncle Hughie, which had been brought to his home in Lancaster before his funeral last year, confirmed his belief in another dimension.
‘When I walked in and I saw him lying in the box, it wasn’t him,’ Fury says. ‘It was an empty shell. Just like that bottle over there is empty and it’s going in the bin and it’s useless. The person I knew before was no longer there. Gone. It didn’t even look the same person.
‘They say we only use a small portion of our brains. So maybe when we die, the full brain is unlocked. Maybe we can time travel. Maybe we can be anywhere at once. Maybe we can teleport. These aren’t new words. Teleport ain’t a new word. It’s written in the scriptures.’
If he pulls off what would be one of the greatest shocks in boxing this century, he will use the triumph to spread God’s word, he says. He does not understand that his views on homosexuality, in particular, will make him a pariah rather than a role model. He is intent, he says, on not wavering from what he sees as this new path of righteousness although he does not want to be seen as a messenger for one particular religion.
‘I am not a member of Islam or Christianity or Buddhism,’ he says. ‘I have a personal relationship with the Almighty. I don’t put myself in any groups. I am an independent candidate, basically, for God. I believe that all religion, all it does is causes death. For me, it is about having a one-on-one relationship with your creator.
‘I believe I can be used to spread the word of God throughout the world more efficiently than maybe a thousand pastors could through their churches. I will try and do good things with the power I have at this time of life rather than doing bad things and bragging and bouncing up and down in a big car.
‘I am about doing good things, setting up charities, rehabilitation centres. I want to be more involved with people. I want to change people who need help. I want to hand them help. Faith brings order and without faith, I have nothing.’