13:37 GMT13 May 2021
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    The boxer responded to those deeming his calls to avoid "their shops" as racist, arguing the clip that is now viral had been edited to contain no attribution to the actual speaker.

    Heavyweight world champ Anthony Joshua has launched a tirade against his critics after being accused of racism following his appearance at a Black Lives Matter protest in Watford, Hertfordshire.

    The IBF, WBA, and WBO star attended a peaceful protest on Saturday and read out a speech on a microphone to the crowd of attendees stating from the very start that it was on behalf of someone else who could not attend the event.

    However, the Watford-born fighter’s speech was circulated online in a clip with the cut-out introduction, so that the whole utterance looked as though the comments to avoid businesses owned by white people were his own thoughts.

    “Show them where it hurts. Abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses", Joshua’s speech went.

    The video quickly went viral, promoting a storm of jabs:

    Joshua was quick to weigh in saying:

    "If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself!”, the 30-year-old boxer tweeted his blistering response.

    "If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read and I took the lead", he further explained, but this was deemed insufficient by quite a few:

    “Seeing that the vast majority of people buying tickets to watch him fight are white then yeah he’s probably about to have nightmares!”, one stated.

    However, some admitted the reason for the backlash is right there on the surface:

    Joshua acknowledged he had spoken from the heart about the Watford community, ideas of investing seven figures "to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community", in reference to his own financial injections into the cause and calls for the government to do the same.

    "Shops aren't the issue here. Before you talk s***, you better boycott racism", the 2012 London Olympic gold medalist of Nigerian descent, and who has more than once praised his descent, summed up.

    Joshua also addressed criticism that he hadn’t been complying with social distancing rules, reversing the accusations against those heading to parks for picnics, etc.

    "I hope those who are complaining about social distancing have the same energy about those gathering for a day at the beach (and) those going to the park for a picnic", the athlete made his stinging remark.

    "We have to engage with the youth and put an end to black youth gang culture. This postcode war - how many houses do we own on that postcode that we're fighting for?", he queried before reiterating the protesters’ slogan "every life matters" and referring to George Floyd’s death as merely “a catalyst in a list that is way, way, way too long".

    Joshua’s comments came as thousands took to streets in the US and well beyond in stringent opposition to the brutal killing of George Floyd, an African American forgery suspect, who died after a police officer pressed his knee against his neck for a lengthy 8 minutes despite him mid-way losing consciousness.

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    Tags:
    boxer, boxing, protest, George Floyd
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