Anthony Joshua has hit back at accusations he made offensive remarks during an emotional Black Lives Matter speech over the weekend. The unified heavyweight champion spoke at a peaceful protest in Watford and called for an end to racism, but some critics interpreted his comments differently.
Joshua has insisted he is not racist, and was simply reading from a speech written by somebody else.
The WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion took to Twitter to clarify his comments after being criticised by some social media users.
Joshua said in the speech that those in attendance should “show them where it hurts” and invest in black- businesses.
“We must not use the demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting. We need to be united in non-violent demonstrations,” he said.
“Show them where it hurts, abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses.
“And that’s for all communities if you want to uplift yourselves, invest in your own businesses.”
Those comments drew criticism from some people online, with some strangely accusing the heavyweight hero of inciting racism.
However, Joshua addressed the criticism head-on and insisted that wasn’t the case.
Instead, he claims he was telling those in attendance to continue investing in African/Caribbean, while urging the community to boycott any racism.
He wrote: “If you think I’m a racist, go f**k yourself!
“If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read and I took the lead.
“I personally spoke from the heart about the Watford community, ideas of us personally investing 7 figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African / Carribean community.
Joshua attended the protest on crutches, sparking fears he was carrying a leg injury.
And the Olympic gold medalist downplayed any fears he would face a lengthy spell away from the ring by confirming he is still training.
In a statement on Sunday, he said: “Respect for the supporters concerned about my leg.
“I buss my knee running miles in the woods.
“Doc said take all weight off it for two/three weeks.
“Still training, still active, still punching. Two weeks to [go], then it’s off.”