Anthony Joshua’s incredible body transformation made headlines this week when a picture of him as a skinny teenager started circulating online.
The snap shows just how much Joshua’s physique has changed since he began training and lifting weights at Finchley ABC in 2008.
Just four years later, he was crowned London 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight champion following a sensational rise.
At that point, Joshua was at an intermediate stage. Now though he’s an absolute unit and holds the WBA, IBF and WBO titles after becoming the two-time, unified heavyweight world champion in 2020.
Joshua’s ascent to stardom was far from easy though. Earlier this week, The Sun reported on his incredible journey from boarding school to jail, revealing former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s role in inspiring him to become a boxer.
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Born in Watford in 1989, Joshua moved to Nigeria briefly aged 11 before returning to England when he was 12. During his time in Africa, he benefited from a strict school life and learned the value of discipline through early morning wake up calls.
Speaking to Vogue, Joshua said: “I spent about nine months in a boarding school, six months in a boarding school.”
“My school was called ‘The Bells’,” he continued.
“They go round with a bell at five in the morning. Five in the morning, that’s when I’m getting my deep sleep as well normally in London! Waking me up at five in the morning, and if you don’t wake up, they bust through the door, ‘Wake up!’”
When he returned to the UK, Joshua claims he fell in with the wrong crowd and in 2009 he served two weeks on remand at Reading prison for what he describes as “fighting and other madness”.
Joshua originally began working out as a means of intimidating his rivals on the street. But after moving to London he started hanging around with his cousin Ben Ileyemi who was into boxing.
As a result, he drew inspiration from Tyson, who had been arrested 38 times by the age of 13 before he was adopted by his former trainer and mentor Cus D’Amato.
Iron Mike’s rise to global stardom kickstarted Joshua’s own meteoric rise, eventually leading him to the heavyweight summit and unified titles of his own.
Joshua is set to return to the ring in September when he faces mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk.