On April 29th, 2017, the world witnessed the crowning of a new World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion. After 11 rounds of hard-hitting boxing, the legendary Wladmir Klitschko fell to the fist of the striding young boxer, Anthony Joshua. It was an historic triumph for the 27 years old whose nationality became a talking point, especially in Nigeria.
Although Anthony Joshua has been a popular boxing figure before the May 29 fight, it was his victory on that night that raised his popularity in this part of the world to astronomical heights. While his success has put him in the keen focus of Nigerians, many still only know him as the world boxing champion, who defeated Klitschko.
So I decided to put up a list to reveal more about Anthony Joshua. Here are 13 things you should know about him:
Anthony Joshua was born in the UK to a Nigerian Mother and a father of Nigerian and Irish descent, which makes him a subject of dual-nationality. His is nicknamed ‘AJ’. Some of his friends also call him ‘Femi,’ a shortened version of his middle name, Oluwafemi.
HIS LAUNCH INTO PRO BOXING
Joshua became a boxer in 2007 at the age of 18 after he was encouraged by his cousin. That cousin of his, is fellow unbeaten professional boxer, Ben Ileyemi. The pair made their professional debut together in 2013.
Anthony Joshua wanted to represent Nigeria at the 2012 Olympics. But a coach in Nigeria told him there was no chance. Joshua reportedly was told that if he was good enough, he’d represent England instead of coming back to Nigeria, when he asked to join in trials.
HIS CAREER TAKE-OFF
Joshua now fights professional boxing for Great Britain. He won an Olympic gold in the super heavy-weight division at the 2012 London Olympics. At the threshold of his boxing career, Joshua won numerous bouts and competitions which made many see promise in his athletic venture. One of such early promising signs was his silver medal claim at the World Amateur Boxing Championship in Azerbaijan, in 2011.
According to The Ring, the world now considers Joshua the No. 1 heavyweight in the world because of his victory over Klitschko and partly because of Fury’s hiatus from the sport. Tyson Fury, another out-in-front pugilist, has wasted no time in asking AJ for a fight. AJ earned his top ranked status on the night of his remarkable victory at the Wembley Stadium.
He has an impressive record of 19 KOs in 19 bouts of his professional career.
Second only to Joe Fraizer, AJ is the World Heavyweight boxer while still Olympic Heavyweight Champion. Second only to James DeGale, AJ is a British boxer to win world title after Olympic Gold.
He worked as a bricklayer before taking up boxing full time.
His mother Yeti Odusanya has not been in one of his bouts since his London Olympics 2012 gold medal triumph. In fact, AJ banned his mum from watching him fight Klitschko in the stadium. He wrote on his Instagram page, ‘I’ve banned her. It’s not a place where you want to see your kid, I don’t think, at a fight.’
In 2009, Joshua was remanded in Reading prison U.K for what he describes as ‘fighting and other crazy stuff’. He was made to wear an electronic tag on his ankle when released.
In 2011, Joshua was pulled over by police for over-speeding in Colindale, North London. He was found with 8 ounces of herbal cannabis hidden in his sports bag in his Mercedes Benz. He was charged with possession with intent to supply a class B drug. An offence that carries a maximum of 14 years sentence. Joshua was suspended From GB boxing squad and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty at crown court.
Anthony Joshua was made a Member of British Empire (MBE) in 2013, for his service.
AJ likes to improve his tactical prowess. One of the ways he does that is by playing Chess.
LOVE FOR NIGERIA
Anthony Joshua loves Nigeria. He has a tattoo of the map of Africa on his arm, with Nigeria highlighted. To nip in the bud on the controversial issue of his nationality, AJ said, ‘My heart is with Nigeria, my heart is with Britain. I’m Nigerian by blood.’
This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets