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Anthony Joshua Biography: Early Life, Career, Award and Personal Life

Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua OBE (born 15 October 1989) is a British professional boxer.

He is a two-time former unified world heavyweight champion, having held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles from December 2019 to September 2021, and previously between 2016 and June 2019.

At regional level, he held the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles from 2015 to 2016.

As an amateur, Joshua represented England at the 2011 World Championships in the super-heavyweight division, winning a silver medal.

 

 

He also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, winning gold.

In 2014, a year after turning professional, he was named Prospect of the Year by The Ring magazine.

In 2017, his victorious fight against Wladimir Klitschko was named Fight of the Year by The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Joshua is the second British boxer, after James DeGale, to win both a gold medal at the Olympics and a world title by a major professional sanctioning body, as well as the first British heavyweight to do so.

As of October 2021, Joshua is ranked as the world’s third-best active heavyweight by BoxRec, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and The Ring, and fourth by ESPN, as well as the seventh-best active boxer, pound for pound, by BoxRec.

He has been ranked by BoxRec as among the world’s top 10 heavyweights since 2014, and was ranked at No. 1 at the conclusion of 2016 and 2017.

Joshua’s knockout-to-win percentage stands at 91.67%, with an overall knockout percentage of 63.64% in world heavyweight title fights.

 

Joshua: Early Life

 

 

Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua was born on 15 October 1989 in Watford, Hertfordshire, the son of Yeta and Robert Joshua.

 His mother is Nigerian, while his father is of Nigerian and Irish ancestry.

 Joshua’s Nigerian background can be specifically traced back to the Yoruba people, amongst whom he is of aristocratic rank.

 His cousin, Ben Ileyemi, is also a professional boxer. The pair made their professional debuts together in 2013.

Joshua spent some of his early years in Nigeria as a boarding school student at Mayflower School in Ikenne.

Following his parents’ divorce when he was 12, he returned to the UK halfway through Year Seven to join Kings Langley Secondary School.

Growing up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshire, he was called “Femi” by his friends and former teachers, due to his middle name, Oluwafemi.

He excelled at football and athletics and broke his school’s Year Nine 100 m record with a time of 11.6 seconds.

 

Joshua: Career

A late starter in the sport, Joshua began boxing in 2007, aged 18, when his cousin suggested he take it up.

His club, Finchley ABC in Barnet, North London, is also home to professional heavyweight Derek Chisora.

 

 

Joshua won the 2009 and 2010 Haringey Box Cup.

Joshua won the senior ABA Championships in 2010, in only his 18th bout, and later turned down £50,000 to turn professional.

“Turning down that £50,000 was easy.

I didn’t take up the sport for money, I want to win medals.”

He also went on to win the same tournament the following year.

In 2010 his domestic success earned him a place on the GB Boxing team and later the same year he became British amateur champion at the GB Championships after defeating Amin Isa.

At the 2011 European Championships in June he beat the German Eric Brechlin 23:16 and the Irishman Cathal McMonagle 22:10 but was stopped by the Romanian southpaw Mihai Nistor after receiving several standing counts.

In October 2011 he was named Amateur Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Club of Great Britain.

Joshua had an amateur record of 40–3.

During the 2011 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, Joshua marked his sudden arrival on the world scene when he beat Italian reigning world and Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle, and went on to stop Erik Pfeifer of Germany in the semis before losing by a single point to local boxer, Magomedrasul Majidov winning a silver medal.

En route to the final, Joshua secured his place at the 2012 Olympic Games in the super-heavyweight division as a relative newcomer to the elite level of the sport.

 

Joshua went into the 2012 London Olympics as a novice on the international scene, despite being a world silver medalist.

He received a tough draw in the last 16 of the super-heavyweight event in Cuban Erislandy Savón, ranked No. 4 in the world by AIBA and nephew of the three time Olympic champion Félix Savón.

The home boxer battled through three tough rounds in his opening contest before being given the result 17:16.

This decision caused some controversy with most observers believing Savon had clearly won the bout whilst a few others taking the view that he had won on merit.

In his next bout he fought 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist Zhang Zhilei, dropping his taller opponent in the middle round; Joshua won by 15:11 guaranteeing at least a bronze medal.

In the semi-final Joshua met Kazakh boxer Ivan Dychko, and despite Joshua’s height disadvantage he won by 13:11 to gain a place in the Olympic final.

Joshua met 32-year-old reigning Olympic champion and former two-time world champion, Roberto Cammarelle of Italy in the closing bout.

After conceding the first two rounds (6:5 and 13:10) to Cammarelle, an adversary he had already beaten the previous year, Joshua grew into the fight and fought back to level the scores after the third round (18:18).

Joshua was announced winner via count-back and the new Olympic champion.

The final decision was criticised by some boxing experts, being defined as a “home decision”.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to boxing.

 

Personal Life

 

Joshua has expressed an interest in chess as well as reading as a way to reinforce his boxing and tactical abilities.

 He was a bricklayer before taking up boxing full-time.

In 2009, Joshua was put on remand in Reading Prison for what he describes as “fighting and other crazy stuff.”

He was made to wear an electronic tag on his ankle when released.

In March 2011, Joshua was pulled over by the police for speeding in Colindale, North London.

He was found with eight ounces (226.8 grams) of herbal cannabis hidden in a 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 14-year sentence.

Joshua was suspended from the GB Boxing squad and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours’ unpaid work after pleading guilty at crown court.

Joshua previously stated in 2012 that he does not support a football team,  but when asked in an interview in 2017, he said that although he supports his local team Watford F.C., his “overall favourite” team was Real Madrid C.F. because of Cristiano Ronaldo, as Ronaldo was a Real Madrid player at the time.

In the same interview, he also described English footballer Troy Deeney, who he met by chance at a local barbershop in his hometown Watford, as his “good friend”.

In an interview with iFL TV in July 2014, Joshua named Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield as his top five greatest heavyweight boxers of all-time.

Joshua fathered a son named Joseph “JJ” Joshua, with dance teacher Nicole Osbourne, in 2015.

In 2020, Joshua spoke about his positive relationship with his longtime promoter Eddie Hearn, who has promoted him since his professional debut in 2013, saying that he “and Eddie will always have a great friendship.”

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