'Racism is a pandemic': Heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua attends Black Lives Matter march in Watford

Heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua described racism as a 'pandemic' while addressing protesters at a Black Lives Matter march in London on Saturday.

Reuters June 07, 2020 08:38:05 IST
'Racism is a pandemic': Heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua attends Black Lives Matter march in Watford

London: Heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua described racism as a "pandemic" while addressing protesters at a Black Lives Matter march in London on Saturday.

Racism is a pandemic Heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua attends Black Lives Matter march in Watford

File image of Anthony Joshua. AP

Joshua, one of Britain's highest-profile sportsmen, joined a march through the streets of his home town of Watford before gathering in a park where he recited a poem written by a friend.

"The virus has been declared a pandemic," Joshua said. "This is out of control. And I'm not talking about COVID-19 . The virus I'm talking about is called racism."

Marches and protests have been held all over the world in response to the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by a police officer in the US on 25 May. Four officers involved have since been charged over the death.

The 30-year-old Joshua, whose world heavyweight title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev scheduled for this month at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was dressed in all black for the event.

"We can no longer sit back and remain silent on these senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being – based on what? Only their skin colour," the IBF, WBA and WBO world champion, who was using crutches and wearing a knee brace, after injuring his knee during training this week, added.

"We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations – just like today, so well done Watford.

"We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting."

A spokesman for Joshua said his knee injury would be further checked by doctors, but "there is no immediate concern".

The Black Lives Matters protests went on in London despite Health Minister Matt Hancock urging people not to attend large gatherings because of the pandemic.

The Metropolitan Police also said on Friday that the protests could be unlawful because they would break social-distancing advice.

Crystal Palace soccer player Andros Townsend took to Twitter to question why the authorities were trying to stop the marches.

"I find it funny how people in power are using covid 19 to try and stop the #BlackLivesMatter protests in the UK... where was this same energy when there were thousands congregating around parks/beaches? Don't hide behind the virus, say the real reason! #BlackLivesMatter," he said.

Updated Date:

also read

Strategic reforms and rapid vaccination drive put economy on path to swift recovery, says finance ministry report
India

Strategic reforms and rapid vaccination drive put economy on path to swift recovery, says finance ministry report

Sustained and robust growth in agriculture, sharp rebound in manufacturing and industry, resumption of services activity and buoyant revenues suggest that the economy is progressing well, the September review said

Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich still unvaccinated due to 'personal concerns'
Sports

Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich still unvaccinated due to 'personal concerns'

According to German daily Bild, Kimmich is one of five Bayern players who are unvaccinated. Kimmich says he has reservations about getting vaccinated, "especially with regard to the lack of long-term studies".

Indian economy to grow at 9.5% this year and 8.5% in 2022, projects IMF
Business

Indian economy to grow at 9.5% this year and 8.5% in 2022, projects IMF

Gita Gopinath, chief economist of the IMF, said that compared to their July forecast, the global growth projection for 2021 has been revised down marginally