Anthony Joshua’s upcoming opponent, Kubrat Pulev, has been charged with racial insensitivity after saying the Englishman is “a better tan” than him but said his comments have been taken out of context.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed Friday that the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion will take on Pulev on Saturday, December 12, but the Bulgarian is already facing a fight for clearing his name after allegations of racism were leveled after a spontaneous remark during an interview earlier this week
READ MORE: ‘Shameful’: Kubrat Pulev Charged with Racism After Saying Anthony Joshuas ‘tan is better than mine’.
When asked how he assessed Joshua’s strengths as an opponent, Pulev replied: “His strengths? I would say he has undoubtedly a very strong punch. What are his other strengths? His tan is better than mine.”
Several fight fans on social media took an exception to Pulev’s comment, saying that a fighter’s skin color shouldn’t be relevant when talking about his skills in the ring.
However, since then Pulev has distanced himself from the controversy, saying that he would never speak badly of another person just because of their racist background.
“Under no circumstances would I allow myself to show disrespect for any racial, ethnic or religious reason,” Pulev said of BoxingScene.com.
“That’s what I taught my little nephews all along. We are all born with equal rights on this earth, and skin color does not matter.
“I can’t believe how my words about Anthony Joshua have been taken out of context,” he continued.
“It has never occurred to me to discredit another athlete because of his skin color! Among my friends there are people of different races and ethnicities. They are all great and worthy people as well as my very good, long-term friends whom I respect and love .
“It’s 2020 and I very much hope that people will stop this faint-heartedness and that people will develop intellectually to recognize that the truly valuable human qualities in this world are not manifested outwardly, but through the power of the human spirit and the Virtues that we carry within us!
“If someone has been offended by my words, I hope they are trying to understand exactly what I meant by them and if they cannot understand me then accept my sincere apology.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Joshua on his birthday today and wish him good luck and health – something that is more valuable today than ever before!”
Pulev, 39, has been criticized for his past actions. In 2019, his boxing license was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) after he kissed sports reporter Jennifer Ravalo on the lips without approval after beating Bogdan Dinu.
He was also fined $ 2,500 and had to attend sexual harassment awareness classes.
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