The Christian boxer Manny Pacquiao has said sorry after he has been accused of homophobia after he said people in same-sex relationships "are worse than animals...
Nike drops boxer Manny Pacquiao after same-sex couple comments
Sportswear giant Nike has cut its ties with multi-weight world champion and Christian Manny Pacquiao.
Earlier this week the Filipino was accused of making a homophobic slur, he said homosexuals as "worse than animals" in a television interview.
He said: "It's common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?''
"Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female.
"If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals," Pacquiao said when his comments were translated into English by TV5's Facebook page.
The 37-year-old next takes on Tim Bradley in April in what is thought to be the final bout of his professional career.
Manny Pacquiao apologised for the comment on Facebook, saying he was "not condemning LGBT", although he remained clear in his stance against same-sex marriage.
Nike has ended its relationship with the boxer, who had worn the company's logo on his trunks during his fights.
A Nike spokesperson said in a statement to Press Association Sport: "We find Manny Pacquiao's comments abhorrent. Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting and standing up for the rights of the LGBT community.
"We no longer have a relationship with Manny Pacquiao."
Pacquiao has recently combined his boxing career with politics, and he currently represents his wife's home province of Sarangani in the House of Representatives.
He is running for a senate seat in the country's May elections.
I'm sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals. Please forgive me for those I've hurt. God Bless! pic.twitter.com/bqjRcWqp8R— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 16, 2016
He says he is a conservative Christian politician, but his words have prompted calls for voters to boycott him in the senate elections, with Filipino gay rights organisations and political group Ladlad condemning the boxer's comments.
Ladlad, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group, posted on its official Twitter account: ''PLS DO NOT VOTE Manny Pacquiao for senator. His anti-LGBT statement betray a shallow understanding of the issues that are important to us.''
Same-sex marriage is outlawed in the Philippines due to strong opposition from the Catholic Church, with around 80 per cent of the country's 100 million people subscribing to the faith.
Same-sex marriages are officiated at small churches but these unions are not recognised by the church or the state.