Ex-Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe among favourites to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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Former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe is among the favourites to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year after his support for Bradley Lowery.

The 34-year-old England international, who left Sunderland for Bournemouth after the Black Cats crashed out of the Premier League, befriended the seriously ill six-year-old and gave support to his family.

The beloved boy, who hundreds of thousands of people around the world took to their hearts, died from neuroblastoma earlier this month. Defoe left a training camp with his new squad last week to attend his funeral on Friday.

The striker is listed as 5/1 odds to win the prestigious honour - putting him second in the rankings at bookies William Hill.

Anthony Joshua is the favourite to win, however, with 3/1 odds. The heavyweight boxer, who defeated Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April, would be the first fighter since Joe Calzaghe in 2007 to win the award.

Liverpool's Echo Arena will host this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday, December 17, the broadcaster announced earlier today.

The full list of favourites are:

ANTHONY JOSHUA - 1/3

JERMAIN DEFOE - 5/1

JOHANNA KONTA - 10/1

The 26-year-old became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Virginia Wade in 1977.

LAURA MUIR - 14/1

The Scot is highly fancied to do well over 1,500 metres and 5,000m at the IAAF World Championships in London in August.

LEWIS HAMILTON - 20/1

The 2014 winner is chasing his fourth Formula One world title and won a record-equalling fifth British Grand Prix on Sunday.

MO FARAH - 20/1

The four-time Olympic champion is seeking to sign off from his track career in London by adding to his five world titles.

CHRIS FROOME - 25/1

The cyclist is in contention for a fourth Tour de France title in five years this month.

ANDY MURRAY - 33/1

An injury-plagued year means the winner of SPOTY in three of the last four years is an outsider this time.

KATERINA JOHNSON THOMPSON - 33/1

Much is expected of the Liverpudlian in London following the retirement of fellow heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.

OWEN FARRELL - 40/1

The Saracens playmaker helped England to the RBS 6 Nations title and the British and Irish Lions to a drawn series in New Zealand.