Anthony Joshua criticized for saying Cristiano Ronaldo is his hero

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World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua has been criticized for saying Cristiano Ronaldo is his hero because of his attitude towards “issues” with women. 

At a promotional event for an upcoming fight, Joshua praised Ronaldo for how he was dealing with that and his tax fraud conviction. “Cristiano Ronaldo [is my sporting hero],” Joshua said. “I’ve always said two things you’d get f….. for as an athlete is women and tax, he’s got f….. for both and he’s still smiling, still strong.

“You need mental strength, he’s proved that,” Joshua continued. “He’s a family man, he’s got that aspect, but still out working and he’s dedicated to what he does. So as a sportsman he’s had the issue of one side, he’s got the family on the other side, and he balances what he’s passionate about. He completes all the packages, so I like Ronaldo for that reason.”

Rape Crisis England and Wales national spokeswoman Katie Russell said Joshua had failed to respect the seriousness of the allegations. “It’s inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to make jokes or flippant remarks about allegations or instances of sexual violence and abuse in any context,” Russell said. “Arguably, those in the public eye, who may be considered a role model to many, including impressionable young people, have a particular responsibility not to trivialise such serious issues.

“Experiences of sexual violence and abuse can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on victims’ and survivors’ health, lives and relationships. As a society, we need to develop more empathy and understanding about that if we are ever to see more of those impacted by sexual violence and abuse get the support they need, want and deserve.”

Anthony Joshua has not responded to the comments critisizing him for hailing Cristiano Ronaldo as his sporting hero. The Portuguese superstar was involved in a top of the table Serie A clash against Napoli during the weekend and would be anticipating the visit of Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

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