Anthony Joshua has been slammed by a rape victims’ charity for heaping praise on Cristiano Ronaldo – as the footballer faces serious sex assault allegations.
The heavyweight champ named Ronaldo his sporting hero – and backed him for “still smiling” despite getting “f*****” by taxes and “women”.
Kathryn Mayorga claims she was raped by the Juventus star, 34, in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009 – which Ronaldo, 34, firmly denies.
The model also alleges she was paid £280,000 in hush money.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo was convicted of tax fraud and settled a 19million Euro fine in January – walking free with a 23-month suspended sentence.
Joshua, 29, was speaking at a promo event ahead of his showdown with Jarrell Miller in New York this summer when he began celebrating the former Man Utd star.
He 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. “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.”
Katie Russell, the Rape Crisis England and Wales national spokeswoman, rebuked the boxing champ.
She told The Telegraph: “It’s inappropriate, insensitive and disrespectful to make jokes or flippant remarks about allegations or instances of sexual violence and abuse in any context.
“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.”