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Tyson Fury's uncle tweets homophobic message as gay boxer Orlando Cruz loses world title fight

2016-11-28
There was heartbreak for Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz over the weekend as his quest to become the world's first openly gay boxing champion was foiled at the final hurdle. Cruz was defeated by British boxer Terry Flanagan in the WBO lightweight world title fight in Cardiff on Saturday (November 26), in the 35-year-old's tenth bout since he became the sport’s first professional fighter to come out as gay four years ago. Despite Cruz's heroic efforts in the ring, the fight was marred by anti-gay abuse from several high-profile figures from the world of boxing, in particular the uncle of disgraced British boxer and avowed homophobe Tyson Fury. Peter Fury, who trained his nephew before he was stripped of his world heavyweaight title for failing a drug test earlier this year, took to Twitter as Cruz was defeated, writing in a now-deleted tweet: "That's the difference between real men and half of something else". 3ac9faf100000578-0-image-a-1_1480208213120   After facing a backlash from several followers for his "bigoted" views, Fury later added: "Don't worry about my position. Fighting men I want to see. Not something else!" Sadly, the trainer wasn't the only figure from the boxing world to cause controversy. British boxer Frankie Gavin was also forced to delete a tweet after writing that Flanagan "has to win" or risk being "bantered for life" for losing to a "gay lad."

"I have nothing against gay people, have gay friends. But if I lost to a gay lad I would get bantered for life by pals so Flanagan has to win," Gavin wrote, before deleting the tweet.

"I deleted that tweet because it hit some nerves; it wasn't my intention," he wrote.

3ac9fb3600000578-3974984-image-a-3_1480238752810 One person for whom Cruz's sexuality didn't seem to matter was his opponent, however. Revealing that his sister is also gay, in an interview with The Telegraph before the fight, Flanagan insisted he was more interested in Cruz's boxing ability than his personal life. "Fair play to him for coming out in such a tough sport and it might encourage others to come out," Flanagan said. "It doesn't make him any less of a man because he's gay." Prior to the fight, Cruz - one of the first sportsmen to be inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, in 2013 - said he hoped to inspire other gay athletes to follow their dreams and be themselves while doing so. "It's a big moment for me, my community and my country," he said. "It's very important, wonderful, that other people are interested in me as a role model. "People have told me I'm an inspiration for coming out of the closet. They want to be the same as me - not scared, only happy. "I want that other [gay] athletes are not scared to walk into the society. Don't be scared. Be happy with your life, and happy with your decision. All people are the same." More stories: Russell Tovey: ‘Being gay is the best thing that ever happened to me’ LGBT people are being 'targeted' with homophobic abuse outside London gay club