Anthony Joshua 'upset' by accusations after trying to 'uplift community' in speech at Black Lives Matter march, says Eddie Hearn

"This is a good individual, with good morals, a good person, that wants to change the world for the better."

Anthony Joshua 1:35
Anthony Joshua joined Black Lives Matter protest in Watford. Pictures from Instagram/@anthonyjoshua

Anthony Joshua has been 'upset' by accusations after trying to 'uplift his community' in a speech at a Black Lives Matter march, says his promoter Eddie Hearn.

Britain's unified heavyweight champion took to social media to suggest that footage of his speech had been edited out of context after he attended the event in his hometown of Watford on Saturday.

Hearn believes Joshua's words have been misinterpreted and revealed how the 30-year-old intends to make a sizeable investment into a local business.

"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.

"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.

"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.

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"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."

In a statement on social media, Joshua had written: "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 [negatively] you better boycott racism.

"I said what I said and I will act to make change."

Hearn says he is proud of Joshua for promoting debate following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

"I spoke to him for an hour this morning," said Hearn. "He's pretty upset.

"I think that what is important to him is that there is conversation and there is debate, and there is education, and there is learning about the situations, because I think too many of us have been guilty in the past of not speaking out, or not doing enough, and it's sad that it's taken something like this to kick-start so many individuals.

"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.

"There's all these clips that go around the internet. Go back and watch the clip. He clearly states, 'I'm going to read out this speech here', by the gentleman who wrote it, and maybe he would have phrased it differently. It wasn't a speech about white businesses and white shops, but people are very quick to criticise different things or put their take on it.

I think one of the positives that have come out of his appearance is conversation, is talking points, is change and that is very important to him and it should be important to all of us.
Eddie Hearn

"Probably in hindsight, he shouldn't have read someone else's speech, but he was there to try and take part in a gathering to try and uplift the community, and let's look at the positives of why he was there, what he was representing and what he's trying to give back to the community.

Anthony Joshua 0:33
Eddie Hearn says that Anthony Joshua's speech at a Black Lives Matter protest shows how committed AJ is to change for the better.

"This is a good individual, with good morals, a good person, that wants to change the world for the better. I think one of the positives that have come out of his appearance is conversation, is talking points, is change and that is very important to him and it should be important to all of us."

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