Anthony Joshua made history in Wembley on Saturday night when he knocked out the Future Hall-of-Famer, Wladimir Klitschko, in the 11th round to become Boxing’s new heavyweight Champion.
The youngster who has already been called “the future of boxing” with his never say never attitude, is definitely one to look out for in the boxing world from here on out. While we relish on his amazing victory, here are facts about heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua you never knew:
- He was born in Watford on 15th October 1989, to a Nigerian mother and a British father of Nigerian and Irish descent.
- He has a tattoo of Africa on his right arm with Nigeria very outlined in ink.
- He used to be a bouncer before he became a boxer because “It paid well, it was active and I was working outside, which I like.”
- Anthony Joshua got into boxing out of boredom when he moved to London. “I was looking at becoming a builder, learning my trade, starting my own company. But when I moved to London with my mum and I didn’t have many friends up here, I got into boxing out of boredom.”
- He won an Olympic gold medal during the London 2010 Olympics. Five years prior to the win, His cousin Ben Ileyemi was persuading him to join boxing. And he succumbed in 2007.
- A drugs arrest threatened to halt his career – In March 2011, he was arrested for possession of cannabis with intent to supply. He was convicted but escaped a jail sentence and, determined to reform his character, permitted by Team GB to compete in the Olympics.
- Wladimir Klitschko has called him “the future” of heavyweight boxing. The Ukrainian legend has declared: “The future of the [heavyweight] division belongs to Joshua. I haven’t seen an athlete as athletic, as big, as fast, as talented as Anthony and if he’s going to continue the way he is, developing himself, the future belongs to him.”
- 50 Cent is one of his inspirations – Joshua has said of the rapper’s iconic Get Rich or Die Tryin’ album: “When we were younger and getting into trouble, I remember listening to the CD with one of my close friends. And it was that mentality –basically, succeed or nothing. I was obviously putting that mentality in the wrong direction and maybe that’s why I’ve done alright in boxing because I now use it in the right way.”
- He can run 100 metres in under 11 seconds – That is at least the claim of boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. On a special episode of Superstars for the BBC, he managed a time of 11.53 seconds.
- He plays chess to enhance his boxing tactics – “Lennox [Lewis] got it into my mind and then a friend taught me. Chess, it’s the same type of thing in the ring, like taking one of your opponent’s pieces and then counter-attacking. You need to be two moves ahead all the time.”
- London 2012 glory came by the skin of his teeth – Despite being a red-hot favourite for a gold medal, he could have easily fallen at the first hurdle. The first fixture against Cuba’s Erislandy Savon – ranked fourth in the world – was judged 17-16 in the Londoner’s favour, but some observers thought it was Savon who had clearly won, with one journalist declaring it “the worst scored Olympic fight I’ve ever seen.”
- He went on to beat the defending Olympic champion – He was declared the winner over 32-year-old Italian Roberto Cammarelle via countback, although some observers criticised this as a “home decision”.
- He turned down a £50,000 offer to turn professional in 2010 – Although Joshua turned pro in 2013 under the Matchroom Sport promotional banner, it could have happened three years earlier. However, he rejected the mega money offer to focus on the Olympics, on which he reflected: “Turning down that £50,000 was easy. I didn’t take up the sport for money. I want to win medals.”
- He has been honoured by the Queen – He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to boxing.