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Anthony Joshua will not take the knee ahead of Pulev bout

Anthony Joshua will not take the knee ahead of Pulev bout
© Reuters
The world heavyweight champion attended a Black Lives Matter march in June.

Anthony Joshua has confirmed he will not take the knee ahead of Saturday's fight with Kubrat Pulev at Wembley's SSE Arena.

It will be the first time the Briton has stepped into the ring in 2020, a year in which the battle for equality has faced greater scrutiny after the death of George Floyd in the United States in May.

When Floyd was killed, demonstrations happened around the world as part of the Black Lives Matter movement to show support for the fight against racism.

Joshua, who is of Nigerian heritage, attended a march in his hometown of Watford in June but explained why he would not take a knee before this weekend's world heavyweight bout.

"No, I won't take the knee," the 31-year-old said.

"I'm trying to do more tangible things. What we're trying to do is create a union to support British culture, that's important to showcase people from the Afro-Caribbean community as valuable members of British society.

"I think that's more important, that's what we're working on at the minute with different athletes, different people, different places.

"Taking a knee is important, 100 per cent but for me, personally, I'm doing something different this time around."

When sport resumed in the UK this summer following the start of the coronavirus pandemic, footballers regularly took a knee while there have been shows of support in a similar vein in cricket and rugby.

Premier League players have continued to take a knee since football resumed in June
Premier League players have continued to take a knee since football resumed in June (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Joshua revealed his team were working behind the scenes alongside charities, with more information hinted to be available after Saturday's clash.

"I've employed someone with the team who is actually working on it," the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO title holder added.

"Hopefully it comes to fruition and it's only really to do positive things in the great British environment. There's sometimes issues with stigma and stereotypes, so it's to showcase our NHS workers, architects, athletes and be positive for everyone in the community.

"We've created a deck, a website, and we're doing foundational things with grassroots charities at the minute because I can talk to you about boxing but certain issues in the world, I'm not a full-time activist so I'm more than likely to slip up here and there.

"What I would like to do is to team up with charities who deal with these things day in and day out and support their causes and champion certain things."


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