Anthony Joshua has spoken openly about the time he got arrested by British police, charged with cannabis possession, and subsequently banned from the Olympics.
The now four-belt world heavyweight champion was a young buck back in the day. He was known around his estate in Watford for being something of a bad boy.
But he was trying to change his life. Joshua had begun a promising boxing career when things went badly wrong for him.
An arrest and charge for cannabis possession could have seen AJ’s future in jeopardy. Luckily for him, the incident only strengthened his desire to reform himself.
Discussing what happened, the 30-year-old made a recent appearance on Apple Music’s Songs for Life.
He responded to this question from the host.
Going back to 18 years old, taking a loss, or having a potential catastrophe in your life at this stage isn’t foreign to you. I was hoping you could take me to the moment where you are on the street, and you get stopped by the police.
“Oh, wow. So I was boxing for the Olympic team for Great Britain. It was a year before the Olympics. And at this stage, I was earning about £500 a month.
“And you know, I’d seen more money than that before anyway, so it wasn’t stuff that could keep me away from opportunities that came my way at that stage in my life.
“It was a notorious estate as well. Grahame Park estate, a big estate in Northwest London. I’m in my GB tracksuit. I’m a young boxer. I was driving a Mercedes at the time as well, cruising through the estate.
“And then undercover police, there were three officers, two out of them were cool, but there’s always that one officer that’s looking like, “Whatever this guy’s talking about, he’s lying. I know he’s up to something.”
“So he was like, “Your car smells a bit.” I was like, “Yeah, my uncle’s a Rasta. You know how they do. They smoke weed. And I just dropped him off at the station.”
“I said, “I hate it. I’m trying to focus on the Olympics.” He was like, “Yeah, I know what you mean, man.”
“He said, “Look, you’ve got stay focused.” I was like, “I’ll be on my way.” Then I just see the guy come out with a big bag. Like, “What’s this? (pointing to a bag of cannabis)”
“I thought, should I run? Normally that’s the case. But my wallet was there, my phone. I was part of the Olympic team. So I just dealt with it like a man.
“I got charged. It was nine ounces, so personal use or whatever you want to call it. And then yeah, I did my community service.
“I got banned from the Olympic team, though, which was a tough time,” he added.
Songs For Life aired on Apple Music with Anthony Joshua and is available on demand at apple.co/_SongsForLife