When retired middleweight pro-boxer Anthony Ogogo of Lowestoft, England, officiated the wedding of his sister and her same-sex spouse, he shared his happiness by posting images of the ceremony on his Instagram and Twitter. While many praised the happy couple, he also received hateful and homophobic comments.
About 100 followers unfollowed him, leaving mean comments in their wake, but thousands of supportive new followers quickly replaced them.
Reacting to the hateful comments, the boxer told Jon Holmes of SkySports. “If you’re a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, it’s totally irrelevant, and the fact that some people look down upon that, it upsets me. It angers me. It’s really saddening.”
Ogogo’s single-mother raised him and his sister to be open-minded, he says, but some extended family members spoke and behaved unkindly when his sister first came out as a lesbian. Though he’s straight, Ogogo says he feels an obligation to be an ally to LGBTQ people.
”Some people may say that’s a bit naive but I live by the belief that if you show me respect, I’ll show you respect,” he said, continuing, “Boxing’s a very macho sport and you don’t get many guys actually saying they’re allies. I’m honored to be known as one. It’s very humbling.”
In his Instagram post, Ogogo wrote of the wedding:
A day I’ll never forget, being asked to conduct the wedding ceremony of my amazing sister and beautiful sister in law..
I’ve become a staunch ambassador for the #LGBT community since this day and it’s something I’m very proud of. Everyone deserves to be happy and lay in the arms of someone they love and who loves them, regardless of gender. I’ll continue to stand up for what is right.
Here is Ogogo’s Instagram post about his sister’s wedding:
View this post on Instagram
A day I’ll never forget, being asked to conduct the wedding ceremony of my amazing sister and beautiful sister in law. . I’ve become a staunch ambassador for the #LGBT community since this day and it’s something I’m very proud of. Everyone deserves to be happy and lay in the arms of someone they love and who loves them, regardless of gender. I’ll continue to stand up for what is right. . #Family #LGBT #LoveIsLove ️ #proud #happy #summer #wedding #inowpronounceyouwifeandwife #youmaykissyourbride
He also posted a video of the wedding on Twitter:
1 week on from one of my most proudest moments of my life - not to mention one of the coolest - marrying my sister to her beautiful bride .— Anthony Ogogo (@AnthonyOgogo) June 30, 2019
Ps, if I’m doing the marrying you’d better get the vows right WORD FOR WORD! #LoveIsLove ️ pic.twitter.com/kzR5cZH4rY
Ogogo recently spoke on a panel about queerphobia for Call It Out 2019, an event organized the UK LGBT fans group, Pride In Football, in which various sports stakeholders discussed the need for “decisive action on LGBTQ inclusion.”
Ogogo won bronze boxing as a middleweight for Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympic Summer Games. Amid problems with his vision, he officially retired from boxing in March 2019 and has since been training to possibly wrestle with All Elite Wrestling, an American pro-wrestling promotion.
Ogogo has also appeared in a handful of reality show competitions including “Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack” (2008), the diving reality show “Splash!” (2013), “Strictly Come Dancing” (2015), “Celebrity Haunted Mansion” and “The Island “(2018).
Editor’s note: this story was first reported by Jon Holmes at SkySports, and our original report mis-attributed that account. We regret the error.