Hearn admits AJ has been upset by criticism of speech he read out

‘It hurts, some of the accusations that have been flying his way’: Promoter Eddie Hearn admits boxer Anthony Joshua has been stung by criticism of his Black Lives Matters speech telling people to boycott ‘their’ shops

  • Anthony Joshua read out speech written by someone else during the protest 
  • He encouraged local community to shop at businesses owned by black people and to boycott ‘their’ businesses
  • Some took offence to this and Joshua took to social media to defend himself 
  • He said in a post: ‘If you think I’m racist, go f*** yourself’ 
  • Promoter Eddie Hearn says Joshua has been hurt by some of the criticism and added that he is proud of him for speaking out

Anthony Joshua was ‘hurt and upset’ by criticism of the speech he read out during a Black Lives Matter protest in Watford, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. 

The heavyweight champion addressed the crowd in his hometown, delivering an impassioned speech written by his friend Reece Campbell who he said was unable to attend.

In a short clip of the address which was posted to social media, he said: ‘Show them where it hurts.

‘Abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses.’

He went on to call for Britons to ‘speak out in peaceful demonstrations’, but to not ‘use these demonstrations for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting.’

The reference to ‘their’ shops provoked an avalanche of online criticism, and Hearn admitted that the former Olympic champion has been stung by it. 

Anthony Joshua read out a speech written by a childhood friend during the Black Lives Matter protest in Watford

‘He read someone’s speech out, which he may have phrased differently, if he had read it himself,’ Hearn told Sky Sports News.

‘People want to interpret the words of that in many different ways. I’ve seen some strange thoughts of what that was supposed to mean.’

Hearn went on to add that Joshua’s commitment to his local community is a significant one and he is planning a million pound-plus investment in Watford.  

‘It wasn’t his words, but he did speak some of his own words as well, which was about uplifting his community, investing in his community, which is Watford, and he’s got a seven-figure investment that he’s putting into his own town soon to give people more opportunities.

Eddie Hearn revealed that the heavyweight champion has been upset by criticism 

‘He spoke about gang culture being dead, he spoke about making sure that all gatherings and protests were peaceful ones. There were so many positives that came out of what he said.

‘I’ve known Anthony Joshua for eight years. I know him inside out. It hurts when some of the accusations have been flying his way.

‘So many businesses as well to start realising that we have to make change, because racism is something that runs deep throughout this country. It’s here now and it’s historical, and it has to change. 

‘I think conversation is good, and I’m very proud of Anthony of his mindset of speaking up and trying to promote what he has always tried to promote, which is to uplift people, to motivate people, to do better, to be better, and to be better people. 

Joshua was seen at the peaceful demonstration in his hometown of Watford at the weekend

After seeing some of the criticism online, Joshua responded with a message on Instagram. 

He wrote: ”If you think I’m a racist, go f*** yourself! If you watch the whole 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.

‘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.’  

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