Anthony Joshua is undoubtedly the star of British Boxing at the moment. Despite David Haye coming out of retirement, Joshua still seems like the leading star for the country. It has been quite a remarkable journey for the Londoner. Joshua was arrested for drug possession and faced a potential 10-year prison sentence before his efforts at the Olympics. But despite the man from Watford having a troublesome past, he went on to claim Gold in London, also a World title in the professional ranks.
So where did it all begin?
Joshua didn’t even start boxing until he was 18. Formerly a sprinter and footballer, he broke his school 100m record in 11.9 seconds. However, it was his cousin who suggested he pick up some gloves. Joshua then began boxing for his local club Finchley ABC in Barnet. As a youngster he picked things up very quickly, winning the senior ABA championships both in 2009 and 2010. Offered to turn pro for £50,000 Joshua turned down the money and decided to stay competing as an amateur. It was a very tough decision for Joshua who had only recently been released from Reading prison for ‘fighting and other crazy stuff.’ He wore an electronic tag on his release. Joshua himself has admitted several times that boxing took him away from a ‘dark road.’ Because of his domestic success, GB quickly came calling and Joshua was fighting at the Olympics.
The Brit took the Olympics by storm. He was relatively unknown on the international stage, but that did not deter from him storming through to the final. It was a difficult route, with Joshua coming up against Cuban Erislandy in his first round. Savon who was ranked number four at the time. This was one of his toughest fights, narrowly winning 17:16. Next up was 2008 silver medalist Zhang Zhilej, who was heavy favorite to claim gold. With home support Joshua dropped him in the second round. After dispatching the taller Ivan Dychko, Joshua was in the final against the reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle. Nerves got the better of the Brit who lost the first two rounds, but he bounced back to level the scores, finally winning 18:18 via count-back.
The Brit made the decision to go pro in 2013. He made his professional debut against Emanuele Leo in his home city, at the O2 arena in London. He made a storming start, beating the Italian by a TKO in the first round.
Still undefeated Joshua made his ninth professional appearance for the vacant WBC International Heavyweight title against former champion Denis Bakhtov. A quite incredible achievement considering he was only 24. He won the fight on home soil at the O2 in London, knocking Bakhtov out in the second round.
Going To The Top
Joshua fought Dillian Whyte in a domestic grudge match for the vacant British Heavyweight title. He was also defending his Commonwealth Heavyweight title. The Londoner was fighting for revenge, having lost an amateur match in 2009 against Whyte. It was a difficult match for Joshua who only just survived a scare in the second round, before a blow to the temple and a devastating uppercut took out Whyte in the seventh. This is still the closes fight Joshua has ever had.
In February 2016 Joshua had his biggest fight to date. He was taking on IBF Heavyweight champion Charles martin. It was his first defense of the title and was favorite to hold the belt. The Brit was in sensational form sending him to the floor twice with a straight right hand. It was Joshua’s first world title. Dominic Brezeale is set to fight Joshua for the title in June, with Joshua the odds on to retain his belt.
What Might Come Next?
After his defense against Brezeale the options are open for Joshua. He is undoubtedly a very talented boxer. A potential fight with David Haye has been touted. But if Joshua keeps fighting the way he does, it won’t be long before he is considered one of the greatest.