Boxing champion Anthony Joshua was targeted by conservative sports fans after he tweeted a photo of himself praying in a mosque, leading many to point out their hypocrisy for adoring Muhammad Ali.
Joshua, a British heavyweight fighter, had been vacationing in Dubai with family and friends before he was due back at training camp.
In an image posted Tuesday, Jan. 17, the athlete credited prayer for his success, which includes an 18-match winning streak, in addition to “luck, hard work and talent.”
Besides luck, hard work & talent.. Prayer is a solid foundation. It was nice to join my brother as he led through afternoon prayer (asr) ?? pic.twitter.com/KJ4f2lu3mP
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) January 17, 2017
Many conservative boxing fans lashed out at the fighter.
@anthonyfjoshua Will you stop dicking about & get some training done.I know Klitschko’s 94 but at least spar Dizzee Rascal or something!
— Sir Edward Hearn (@EarnForHearn) January 17, 2017
— bobby b (@bobby_2081) January 17, 2017
— Proud Infidel (@Clem_Fandango_) January 17, 2017
— deano (@LindleyDean) January 17, 2017
The backlash led other fans to take up for Joshua, pointing out others’ hypocrisy since many of them praised Ali even as they shun the 6’6″ Brit.
It's so hypocritical how all the white people loved Muhammad Ali but hate Anthony Joshua for 1 pro Muslim tweet honestly!!
— Raj (@footy7tweets) January 17, 2017
I bet all these racist boxing fans getting flustered over Anthony Joshua were mourning Muhammad Ali last year without irony #dickheads
— Greg Hall (@DirGregHall) January 18, 2017
"Fuck that Anthony Joshua and his backwards religion!!"
Then you ask Dave, 43 from Bradford his favourite boxer
"Oh Muhammad Ali 100%"
— Edwin (@Edwin_AFC) January 17, 2017
The same people abusing Anthony Joshua for visiting a Mosque probably paid tribute to Muhammad Ali when he died last year. #Idiots
— Ricky Wright (@MC_Ricky_Wright) January 17, 2017
Most of these people hating on Anthony Joshua's last tweet were probably fans of Muhammad Ali… ?
— Farhan (@Farhannn15) January 17, 2017
Muhammad Ali, who would have been 75 years old the day Joshua posted his tweet, was a champion boxer with a record of 56 wins, six losses and 37 knockouts. He also was committed to his faith. Ali joined the Nation of Islam in 1964 and changed his name from Cassius Clay to his famous moniker. Under the religion, Ali sought the guidance of Malcolm X and aligned himself with Black causes like promoting self-fulfillment, since Islam focuses on Black empowerment, according to Atlanta Black Star.