• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

Anthony Joshua wary of son following in his boxing footsteps

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British heavyweight Anthony Joshua believes it would not be a “wise decision” for his son, Joseph Joshua, to pursue a career in professional boxing.

The two-time former unified world heavyweight champion shared his thoughts on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, expressing a preference for his son, known as JJ, to become an accountant instead.

Affectionately called “AJ” by his fans, Joshua discussed his troubled youth, including run-ins with the police for fighting and experiencing homelessness at 17 while living in Watford.

He found boxing at a critical time in his life, initially entering the ring at 18 after his cousin’s suggestion. Five years later, he became a household name by winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics.

Reflecting on the sport, Joshua acknowledged the risks and pressures associated with boxing, despite its role in building his superstardom and financial security.

“I don’t think it’s a wise decision for JJ to follow in my footsteps,” he said on Desert Island Discs. He suggested that JJ focus on business and accountancy, emphasizing the importance of understanding numbers and entrepreneurship.

Joshua, who keeps his family out of the spotlight, explained that he wants his son to avoid the immense mental pressure and potential target that comes with being the child of a famous boxer.

“Imagine ‘Anthony Joshua’s son is boxing.’ There would be a target on his back straight away,” he said. “I would not want to put him under that pressure.”

Despite the overwhelming success of his boxing career, which saw him rise to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division, Joshua has faced significant challenges, including a notable low point in 2022 when he failed to recapture the unified WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles from Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk. Reflecting on his defeats, Joshua admitted that they took a toll on him, recounting a time he isolated himself for five days to mentally heal.

While sons of other famous boxers, such as Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr., have followed their fathers into the ring, Joshua is determined to guide JJ toward a different path, focusing on his son’s mental well-being and future outside of boxing.