Born, 15th October 1989, in a small suburb of Watford, Anthony Joshua MBE had excelled at a number of sports during his childhood, including football and athletics. In his early teens, Joshua clocked an impressive eleven seconds in the 100 metre sprint.
Despite this athletic promise, his cousin suggested that his physique would be better suited to boxing. Aged 18, Joshua put on his first pair of boxing gloves and took to the ring of a small gym in Barnet.
Within a few months of sparring, Joshua began to compete in amateur bouts against local fighters of a similar age. He represented Finchley ABC, which is the same club that fellow boxer Dereck Chisora once graced. Joshua showed great promise, winning the prestigious ‘Haringey Box Cup’ consecutively in 2009 and 2010.
At the end of 2010, he stepped up to become the senior ‘ABA Championship’ which saw him receive an offer of £50,000 to become a professional. The offer was subsequently declined, stating that he “wanted to win medals rather than competing for money.” Although by his own admission, it was a hard decision to turn this opportunity down.
Not long after declining the lucrative offer, Joshua burst onto the world scene when he defeated reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy en route to the final before eventually losing out by a solitary point to Magomedrasul Majidov of Azerbaijan. These performances in the World Championships no less, propelled him into the public eye.
In 2011, the career of Anthony Joshua looked to be in jeopardy as he was arrested for possessing cannabis with intent to supply, in which he pleaded guilty. The verdict was a twelve month community order, and 100 hours’ unpaid work.
Even with the prospect of potential damage to his career, the court case didn’t deter Joshua from being a part of Team GB for the London 2012 games.
Going into the ‘home games’ Joshua was still considered a relative novice, despite his silver medal success. Joshua sailed through the opening bouts and progressed to the Quarter Finals where he faced much fancied Erislandy Savon.
After a tricky encounter, Joshua did manage to overcome the Cuban with a 17:16 victory. With the home crowd on his side, Joshua was able to reach the final and claim a notorious Gold medal by beating his old rival Roberto Cammarelle to become the new Olympic champion.
Winning gold at your home Olympics must be the epitome of any sportsperson. Having celebrated the success, Joshua then decided that it was the right time to turn professional. Promotion company ‘Matchroom Sport’ were waiting in the wings to offer him a contract.
The Gold medal aside, perhaps the pinnacle of his career to date is the honour of becoming a member of the British Empire in the 2013 New Year’s honours list for services to boxing. Awarded by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Since turning professional, Joshua is yet to be defeated and is enjoying comfortable victories, winning six out of six, in only nine rounds out of a possible 36.
Still only 24, Joshua has room for improvement as he will have to face opponents of a higher quality if he is to be recognised as an all-time great. The road to long term success is a marathon, not a sprint.
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