Anthony Joshua discusses Nigerian boarding school experience

  • Sam Carp

Anthony Joshua may be set to headline one of the biggest fights of the year when he takes on Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley next month, but he has revealed how his tough experiences in a Nigerian boarding school have prepared him to face the Ukrainian.

Having been born in Watford to Nigerian parents, Joshua described it as somewhat of a culture shock when he moved to the African nation with his mother Yeta for six months at the age of 11. 

"I thought I was going there [Nigeria] on holiday", said the 27-year-old, who will add the WBA title to his IBF heavyweight crown should he beat Klitschko on April 29.

"I wasn't prepared for it, it was a boarding school as well.

"At the time you think 'Why?', but as you get older you think it was good that you experienced it. It was good for me. I think my Mum was trying to do some business there; maybe she had that in her mind. 

"It was a change and I thought I was going to go for the full course: 5:30 a.m. in the morning, up fetch your water, put like an iron in your water to warm it up. Your clothes had to be washed and ironed." 

Following a period that might go some way to explaining his humble demeanour, Joshua and his family returned to the UK, where he began his assault on the boxing ring that has seen him become one of the most exciting stars in the sport.

And his rise has certainly been a remarkable one.

Surrounded by expectation after winning a gold medal at the London Olympics, there has been something unerring about Joshua's 18 knockout victories, which have led to predictions that he could be at the top of the heavyweight pile for years to come. 

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko Press Conference

But, despite the glitz and glamour that comes with being a world champion, Joshua suggests his time in Nigeria taught him the discipline he needed to succeed in the ring.

"It wasn't an issue but I wasn't prepared. It was a good discipline. We got beaten. That's my culture: beating", said Joshua, who still has family in Lagos.

"The government raise your kids now; parents aren't allowed to raise their kids, because there is so much control about what you do or what you say."

But, while Joshua might have been on the receiving end of a few beatings at boarding school, he'll be doing his best to ensure he doesn't suffer his first professional beating at the hands of 41-year-old Klitschko when he steps out in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley at the end of next month, in the toughest test of his explosive career so far.

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