Anthony Joshua pulls on humble beginnings in quest to regain titles
For the first time since his win over Charles Martin in 2016, Anthony Joshua will be the challenger rather than a champion.
Despite criticism being lauded his way for fighting in Saudi Arabia, Joshua will follow the likes of fellow British stars Callum Smith and Amir Khan in fighting in the Middle East on December 7th.
Joshua – trained by Rob McCracken – will aim to win back his world titles against Ruiz in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
With his career seemingly on the line in a highly-anticipated rematch, you’d imagine Joshua was feeling the pressure ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
Apparently not, according to Joshua himself, who looks back at his life before boxing.
The Brit narrowly avoided a jail sentence after pleading guilty for possessing with intent to supply a class B drug and was given a 12-month community order as well as 100 hours’ of unpaid work.
Joshua, though, was given a second chance by Team GB and rewarded their faith with a gold at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Soon after, he signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing and as they say, the rest is history.
While he no longer carries the belts around. More importantly, his championship status has rubbed off on his conduct outside the ring.
“My parents and their heritage is from Nigeria and I was born in England. I started boxing when I moved to London and my cousin was training.
“I was only doing it as a mindset thing. I needed to change my mindset when I was younger as I was getting in some sorts of trouble. Plus I wasn’t really focused on my education as such.
“Being around the older generation and the wise generation they gave me advice. Also, a lot of game that I could use on my day to day life.
“I started thinking as an individual. In three years from being a novice in the gym I was competing at the Olympics. By that point, I had been to so many countries around the world representing Great Britain.
“I turned professional and based myself in England where I won the gold medal. I have been competing out of Great Britain ever since until I went to America when I lost my titles.
“I should say ‘the’ titles because I believe that being a champion is more than just having belts. Which I have always said. Being a champion has responsibilities and it’s about having a championship mindset.
“The belts will go in the air and we will fight for them again. This time around it’s not London, it’s not America, it is Saudi Arabia.”