Anthony Joshua opens up about his faith ahead of Dominic Breazeale fight

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Football News

Before he enters the ring on Saturday to defend his IBF heavyweight title against America's Dominic Breazeale, Anthony Joshua will join trainer Tony Sims in prayer in his changing room.

It will be among his final forms of relaxation, before transforming into the ruthless, devastating puncher those present at London's 02 Arena will witness from the fight's opening bell.

Sims is a born-again Christian and a man whose faith is crucial to him on a daily basis.

It has developed his bond with Joshua, who though not bound to one particular religion considers himself spiritual.

"Prayer is a method practised from ancient days, so it's very important for us to maintain a spiritual connection, something that people, gladiators would do years ago, so we're just maintaining that routine," said the undefeated Joshua, 26.

"Tony leads the prayer, so whatever Tony leads - mainly for a successful night, to come out healthy, and I'm sure, I can't remember every prayer but I'm sure he's mentioned an opponent.

"I just remember it being for us to have a successful night, for us to be watched over.

"I'm not going to dig anyone for their beliefs or anything like that, but I definitely feel religion is a big part of life, whether you believe in it or not, in everyone's day-to-day life religion's a big part. Prayer and so on, and beliefs, is definitely important to me.

"I don't have a preferred religion: I'd have to do research. I was born a Christian but as I've grown into my own man I don't attach myself to a religion; 100 per cent I have faith. Then it's locking into what suits me."

The thoughtful Joshua often dedicates time to educating himself through speaking to retired and more experienced fighters, and through watching their fights.

He so far has resisted many of the trappings that have tempted other elite fighters, something that can perhaps be attributed to his determination to build knowledge beyond boxing and to "not lose touch".

"(Prayer is) a form of meditation, isn't it?" he said. "It's laws of attraction, whatever you put out into the universe is what it receives, it's just kind of putting your thoughts out into the universe. I would definitely (try meditation too), but you have to be in touch with yourself.

"I was listening to some things on YouTube (earlier). It's easy to lose touch. (Listening to) history, biblical books, the Israelites and stuff like that, the Roman Empire.

"With stuff like entertainment, reality TV, it's easy to get lost and be dull and caught up in those things. Sometimes you have to look back on history and stuff."

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