Emma Murphy's former partner apologises for hitting her in the face

Emma Murphy and Francis Usanga

Allison Bray

Fitness instructor Francis Usanga who was at the centre of the domestic abuse video that went viral this week has admitted to hitting his girlfriend Emma Murphy in the face.

Fitness instructor Francis Usanga (29) admitted to being violent towards her twice during their often stormy three-year relationship.

He is due to be questioned by gardai over claims made by Ms Murphy that her former partner and father of her two children hit her in the face, leaving her with a swollen face and eye injuries.

During the most recent incident on July 3 - which led to the fitness blogger posting a video about the abuse she claims to have suffered - the Today Show fitness guru said: "I lost the head and basically pushed her straight in the face. I shoved her in the face. It was a real forceful shove in the face. I connected with her face."

However, he was quick to claim that he didn't use a clenched fist during the attack, which he claimed was sparked by a heated argument the former couple had over his infidelity.

"I didn't use a fist. I didn't use a fist to punch her, you know, because I think if I used a fist to punch her... she, even though she was severely damaged, I think her face would have been…" he said, not finishing the sentence.

After going to ground for the past week since the video has been seen by millions of people around the world, Mr Usanga apologised for his violent acts.

He said: "It was uncalled for. I don't condone it. It was very hard. I pushed her very hard in the face. It was so quick that it would have been the strongest part of my hand, it was with an open hand. It was more of a push, a real hard push.

"It was pretty violent and there's no excuse at all and I'm extremely sorry for that."

Despite his apparent contrition, he denied Ms Murphy's claims that he once split open her head during another violent altercation.

Emma Murphy and Francis Usanga

"I most definitely did not split her head open," he said. Rather, he claimed that she suffered head injuries following the incident after slipping on a mirror that had broken.

"It was a bad altercation, the police were called. I spoke to the police and nothing was ever done. She was brought away to the hospital there was an ambulance called, but she went on her own behalf," he said.

However he said there have been many violent incidents with his ex-partner during the course of their relationship which began three years ago.

"I never hit her face before. She is no match for me at all, even if she was... she is still a female and I should never have raised a hand to her at all," he said in an interview with the Sunday World.

"We had a bad altercation about a year-and-a-half ago after another big event. It was an altercation in the car where there was just mayhem. We were arguing... and in the end she ended up with a black eye," he admitted.

But he repeatedly insisted that he is not trying to make excuses for his behaviour.

"I was in the wrong and no man should hit a woman, that's 100pc right," he said.

Mr Usanga, who also appeared in a minor role as a doctor in TV3's soap opera Red Rock said he would like to apologise to Ms Murphy in person, but doesn't blame the mother of his two children for not wanting to see him again.

"I don't think she deserves to have her face look like that," he said of the facial injuries visible on the video.

"It was quite horrific and it's not something I condone. I'm not a violent person. I didn't wake up on that Friday to go to work and violently hurt anybody or hurt Emma. I just couldn't believe that was me raising up my hands to her face. I just couldn't believe it, I was just so shocked. I'm just sincerely sorry. It's not a way a man should be," he said .

The Women's Aid freephone helpline is 1800 341900.