Tyson Fury has slammed Anthony Joshua’s Black Lives Matter speech as ‘bull****’ and claims he would have been ‘crucified’ for making similar comments.
Joshua, the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world heavyweight champion, was criticised after addressing protesters in his hometown of Watford earlier this month.
In part of his speech, which came in the wake of George Floyd’s shocking death at the hands of a police officer in the United States, Joshua said: ‘Show them where it hurts.
‘Abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses.’
The speech was written by Joshua’s friend, Reece Campbell, who he said was unable to attend the gathering.
The Brit’s comments provoked a furious backlash online and now Fury has waded in, claiming he would not have got away with saying something along the same lines.
‘I’m sure AJ has got his reasons why he said what he said, and its concern is none of my business what he said,’ Fury told Behind The Gloves. ‘That’s his own opinion and everyone to their opinion.
‘Whatever his reasons were, he’s done it and it’s in the past so it’s moved on. I’m sure he’s apologised if he’s offended anybody – oh he actually didn’t, did he! He actually said if you didn’t like what I said, go f*** yourself. So no apology necessary.
‘Let’s just say, I’m not pushing knives in or pushing anybody when they’re down but if it had been me who said it, “Don’t shop in any black-owned stores or any Asian owned stores” or anything, or don’t buy from their businesses, then I’d have been crucified like Jesus Christ. I’ll just say that.’
Following the backlash last week, Joshua posted on social media: ‘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 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.’
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, admitted the 30-year-old was ‘hurt and upset’ by the criticism he received following his speech at the peaceful demonstration.
But Fury, who has agreed the financial details of a two-fight deal to face Joshua next year, believes the Matchroom chief will have been angered by AJ’s speech.
‘The thing is with Joshua, he’s always got Eddie to talk for him and Eddie does all the media stuff and all that and he sort of just reads off a piece of paper,’ Fury added.
‘Even that speech he was reading, he read it off a piece of paper. Nothing is freestyle, everything is wrote out or planned. So during the lockdown obviously Eddie wasn’t with him when he did this, or else he’d have given him a right kick up the rear end.
‘Because I think it’s cost him a lot of pay-per-views, figures and stuff like that, and it’s upset a lot of people because he’s supposed to be the poster boy, the role model, the ambassador and talks bull**** like that. But it is what it is what it is. Everyone to their own. None of my concern, to be fair.’
Fury also insisted that he would never have spoken in the way Joshua did and claimed that his upbringing in the gypsy community means he is still subjected to racism to this day.
‘Good job it wasn’t me, and it never would be me because to me colour doesn’t exist, I’ve got the most diverse team in boxing,’ he said.
‘I’ve suffered racism all my life, 32 years old in August, come from a travelling background, gypsies, hated racist people.
‘It’s the only race that it’s sort of acceptable to be racist towards these days. Even the TV companies in this country are allowed to be racist towards travellers, it’s terrible.
‘But I’m not a person who gives a damn about what colour somebody is or what background they’re from or whatever, because to me everyone is the same, it doesn’t really matter, it is what it is.’
In a clip from the Watford rally, Joshua is seen standing on crutches as he called on the crowd to ‘stand united against the virus which has been instrumental in taking lives.’
Reading Mr Campbell’s letter, he said: ‘Today we join many thousands of protesters in the UK and many hundreds of thousands across the globe.
‘We stand united against the virus which has been instrumental in taking lives. A virus which is not apologetic, a virus that spreads across all sectors of our communities – sports, education, churches, entertainment, the media and the Government.
‘Not just in the UK, but across the world. The virus has been declared a pandemic, this is out of control and I’m not talking about Covid-19. The virus I’m referring to is called racism.’
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.’