Anthony Joshua tells critics of protest speech: 'If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself!'

·Sports Writer
·2-min read

Anthony Joshua has responded fiercely to criticism he received for his protest speech on Saturday.

The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion told critics: “If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself!”

Joshua was referring to a backlash that he received for the speech he made at the Black Lives Matter protest in Watford on Saturday.

Boxer Anthony Joshua is seen during a Black Lives Matter protest in Watford, following the death of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Watford, Britain, June 6, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs
Anthony Joshua at Black Lives Matter protest in Watford (Photo: REUTERS/Paul Childs)

The boxer came under fire after reading a speech to the crowd, written by a friend of his who was unable to attend.

Joshua was labelled ‘racist’ by a number of people on social media in response to his speech, for one line in particular. He said: “Abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses.”

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The 30-year-old posted his response on his twitter page, adding a video of the speech that he gave in full.

He said: “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 seven figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community.”

SAUDI ARABIA - DECEMBER 8, 2019: British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates winning a bout against his American rival Andy Ruiz Jr and regaining his IBO, WBA Super, IBF and WBO World Heavy Titles at Diriyah Arena outside Riyadh. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
Anthony Joshua celebrates beating Andy Ruiz Jr (Photo: Valery Sharifulin\Getty Images)

In the speech that Joshua read to the Watford crowd he talked about protesting peacefully, while no longer taking playing a passive role.

Joshua said: "We can no longer sit back and remain silent on these senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being - based on what? Only their skin colour.

"We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations - just like today, so well done Watford.

"We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting."

Joshua was due to defend his world titles against Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on 20 June but the fight has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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