Anthony Joshua delivered a powerful speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in Watford on Saturday. The heavyweight champion attended the peaceful protest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Joshua, who regained his world heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz Jr last December, sported a knee brace as a “precautionary measure” and used a scooter during parts of the march.
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He addressed the crowd with a piece written by a pal, and said: “We can no longer from today onwards be proud, we can no longer sit back and remain silent on the senseless, unlawful killing [and] sly racism of another human being based on their skin colour.
“We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations just like today, so well done Watford. Inject the vaccine.
“We must not use a demonstration for selfless motive and turn it into rioting and looting.
“We need to be united in non-violent demonstration, show them where it hurts and abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies, and invest in black-owned businesses. That’s for all communities, if you want to uplift yourselves – invest in your own businesses.
“We have to engage with the youth, I completely agree with that, and put an end to black youth gang culture.
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“I’m going to be real with you about gang culture, I’m down to ride 100 per cent but what you have to realise is it’s done, it is 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 done 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 finishing, that’s what we’re saying, 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. I know I’ve taken my street knowledge and taken it to 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 includes black lives and that’s why we’re here today.
“George Floyd, we’re all aware of his name. He was the catalyst in a list that was already way, way, way too long. But ask yourself a question – how does the looting for the latest flatscreen TV help him or his family? How does burning down shops and taking another life stop the virus from spreading? Remember the virus we’re talking about is racism.
“Killing a person outright is unforgivable but stripping them of their human rights, oppressing them, mocking them, insulting them, placing glass ceilings above them just because of their skin colour is just a slow way of killing them and taking the life out of their soul.
“We must unite as a human race and that’s what we’re doing here today so once against thank you.”
Joshua’s upcoming fight against Kubrat Pulev has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak but the use of a knee brace has sparked concern.
A spokesperson for Joshua said: “Anthony felt a slight twinge in his knee whilst training. The brace is a precautionary measure on the advise of physios. It will be further checked by his doctors but there is no immediate concern.”
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