A little over a week ago, unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua delivered a passionate speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in his hometown of Watford, England, that has drawn its fair share of praise and criticism.
And one of those individuals who was critical just so happens to be his potential opponent in 2021 — Tyson Fury.
"The virus has been declared a pandemic, it is out of control," Joshua said in front of thousands who gathered in Watford. "And I'm not talking about COVID-19. The virus I'm referring to is called racism. We need to speak out. We need to be united."
During the speech, Joshua suggested that attendees “abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies and invest in black-owned businesses.” While many cheered, others called out Joshua for being a "racist." Among his critics was Fury, who addressed Joshua's speech with Behind The Gloves.
"I’m sure he’s apologized if he’s offended anybody — oh he actually didn’t, did he," Fury said. "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."
Joshua did lash out at his critics with a response on Twitter but Fury believes Joshua's actions are going to cost him fans in the long run.
"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 bullsh-t like that," Fury said. "But it is what it is what it is. Everyone to their own. None of my concern, to be fair. Good job it wasn’t me, and it never would be me because to me color doesn’t exist, I’ve got the most diverse team in boxing."
Fury also suggested that Joshua would not have said what he said at the protest if his longtime promoter Eddie Hearn was there.
"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. 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."
With a possible super fight to determine an undisputed heavyweight champion on the horizon, this will certainly drum up some heat between the two fighters.