(Reuters) – Britain’s world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury should be banned from boxing for his “Hitler like” comments, former champion Wladimir Klitschko has said, as the two prepare to face off in a re-match in Manchester next month.
Fury, 27, who beat Klitschko to take the WBA, WBO and IBF belts in November last year, caused controversy when he made homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic comments in a video posted online last month.
Though Fury has since apologized for the remarks, Ukrainian Klitschko said the sport would be better off without a champion like Fury.
“I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people he sounded like Hitler. The man is an imbecile. Seriously,” Klitschko told British media.
“You cannot put it all together as a representation of the sport of boxing. He’s an imbecile champion.
“We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or just suspended, because you cannot create more hate.”
Last year over 100,000 people signed a petition to remove the fighter from BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, prompting another apology from Fury.
Fury faces Klitschko for the WBA and WBO titles on July 9.
(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)