Sportswear giant Nike has dropped its sponsorship of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao over anti-gay comments.

Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has 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.”

Nike was quick to respond, strongly condemning the comments.

“We find Manny Pacquiao’s comments abhorrent,” a Nike statement released on Wednesday read.

“Nike strongly opposes discrimination of any kinds 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, who recently reinvented himself as a conservative politician in the Philippines, had been a Nike athlete since 2006.

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.

Last year, two same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in the Philippines – only to have them rejected.

Pacquiao’s comments follow those of fellow boxer Tyson Fury, who recently caused controversyafter 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‘.