Manny Pacquiao has apologised after telling a Filipino broadcaster that gay couples are ‘worse than animals.’

Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao sparked criticism in the Philippines after describing gay couples as “worse than animals”.

“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” Pacquiao told local broadcaster TV5.

“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.”

LGBT activists were quick to slate the boxer’s comments, branding him a “bigoted hypocrite” and a “blind prophet”.

Following the backlash, Pacquiao – has recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician – took to Twitter to apologise for the slur.

“I’m sorry for hurting people by comparing homosexuals to animals,” he said.

“I still stand on my belief that I’m against same sex marriage because of what the Bible says, but I’m not condemning LGBT.

“I love you all with the love of the Lord. Please forgive me for those I’ve hurt. God Bless!”

Pacquiao gave the original television interview as part of his campaign for one of 12 seats in the nationally-elected Filipino senate.

The most recent surveys suggest he would win.

The boxer has recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician – attempting to appeal to the country’s strong Catholic population after years of womanising and hard partying.

Although same-sex sexual activity is not a crime in the Philippines, same-sex marriage is not recognised, and gay couples are unable to adopt.

Pacquiao’s comments follow those of fellow boxer Tyson Fury, who recently caused controversy after comparing gay people to paedophiles.

The boxer has simultaneously stood by his comments and denied being homophobic – while also claiming that sex with children was legalised by a fictional ‘Gay Rights Act 1977‘.