World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua tells critics to ‘go f*** yourself’ after rousing speech at Black Lives Matter event
Anthony Joshua has hit back at those labelling him a racist after telling black people to support their own communities while also calling on an end to youth gang culture at a Black Lives Matter protest.
The 30 year-old, walking on crutches after a twinge in his knee during training, joined crowds at an event in his hometown of Watford on Saturday.
Joshua read a speech from a friend on a piece of paper, and said: "We can no longer remain silent. The senseless, unlawful killing, sly racism of another human being based only on what? Their skin colour.
"We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations like today - so well done Watford - inject the vaccine. We must not use the demonstrations for selfless motives, to turn it into rioting and looting.
“We need to be united in non-violent demonstrations, 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 yourself. Invest in your own businesses."
The heavyweight king also called on gang violence to end and spoke about the continuing ’postcode wars’ that are plaguing UK society.
"We have to engage with the youth - I completely agree with that - and put an end to black youth gang culture," he added.
"What you have to realise is it’s done. It’s done, trust me. Unless you want to be sitting in jail spending years upon years of your only life that you have thinking about ’yeah, they can lock the locks but they can’t stop the clocks’, that’s all dumb because there’s too much cameras, too much intelligence.
"All the OGs that I know are telling me ’bro it’s finished, it’s finished’. Gang life is finished.
"I know that I’m not promoting no gangster business. I’m a legit, straight-forward hustler, that’s just in my DNA and in my blood. But I know I’ve taken my street knowledge and put it into the corporate world and I’ve gained a lot of respect in that sense.
"This postcode war. How many houses do we own on that postcode that we’re fighting for? Let’s inject the vaccine. Every life matters, 100 per cent I agree with that, but that does include black lives and that’s why we’re here today."
But the words he read out for a friend who could not attend the event, sparked a backlash, with some calling out the world champion as racist
Joshua responded on Twittter on Sunday evening, saying: "If you think I’m a racist, go f*** 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/Caribbean community.
"Shops aren’t the issue here. Before you talk s*** you better boycott racism. I said what I said and I will act to make change."
Boxing journalist Steve Bunce responded to Joshua’s reply with a simple: “Well that should settle the debate. Well said, top man."