Anthony Joshua Profile
The journey to the top has been as swift as it has spectacular for Anthony Joshua. The two-time world heavyweight champion grew up in Watford but moved to the capital when he was 17. A year later he was introduced to the ‘noble art’ by a cousin, who took him along to Finchley ABC to start training. The rest, as they say, is history. The big Londoner with the cheerful character and imposing physique first came to worldwide prominence at the 2012 London Olympics, his smile lighting up the event as he claimed gold in the super-heavyweight division. He turned pro with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom soon after and enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks. He won the British title after just 14 fights, knocking out old amateur rival Dillian Whyte in a classic, and then won the IBF world heavyweight title in April 2016 with a crushing KO win in two (while barely breaking sweat) against American Charles Martin.
On an unforgettable night in 2017 he won an absolute war against Wladimir Klitschko, surviving a knockdown against ‘Dr Steelhammer’ and several rocky moments before pulling the fight out of the fire in the penultimate round to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion. In 2019 he suffered the biggest heavyweight upset since James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in 1990 when sawn-off Mexican American Andy Ruiz Jr stopped him in seven rounds in front of a disbelieving crowd at Madison Square Garden. However, AJ then showed his cojones and adaptability by beating Ruiz in a rematch six months later in Saudi Arabia. That victory showed another side to his game, as Joshua took a safety-first approach to beat Ruiz from the outside, winning handily of points.
Joshua is already rich beyond his wildest dreams, with lucrative endorsements deals swelling an already bulging bank balance. Yet it could all have been so different. A 2011 conviction for Possession with intent to supply Class B drugs threatened to derail his career. If he had gone to prison, his Olympic dream would have been over and there’s no way he could have made the same impact as a pro. In the event he was shown mercy by the courts and has never looked back, proudly evolving into one of Britain’s greatest role models.
As WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight champion AJ has mandatory obligations to tidy up, but the fight that threatens to forever knock us off our perches, against Tyson Fury, is the one that will define the respective careers of both pugilists.
Anthony Joshua next fight
Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday December 12 (live on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view in the UK and DAZN in the United States).
Joshua had been slated to meet IBF mandatory challenger Pulev (28-1) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20. However, the COVID-19 crisis meant that date had to be postponed.
The big Bulgarian was first scheduled to fight the IBF, WBA and WBO king way back in October 2017 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, but had to withdraw less than a fortnight before the bout because of a shoulder injury. He has won eight fights in a row since suffering his first career defeat in a heavyweight title fight with Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.
However, he turned 39 in May and would start as a huge underdog against Joshua. If Joshua comes through his Pulev test, then it looks likely he will face fellow Briton Tyson Fury in a blockbusting all-British unification showdown in the summer of 2021.
There is one other potential stumbling block to Fury vs Joshua for AJ and that concerns the WBO, which has slick former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk (17-0) as its mandatory contender right now.
The body has re-iterated Usyk should get a shot at the title once Joshua has fought Pulev, and Usyk himself says he will not be stepping aside. Usyk meanwhile meets Dereck Chisora (32-9) on Saturday October 31.
Anthony Joshua fight time
Joshua remains a huge draw and has unrivalled pulling power in terms of ticket and PPV sales in the UK, though at this stage it is uncertain whether any fans will be allowed into the O2 Arena to watch him take on Pulev.
COVID-19 restrictions are threatening to force the bout to take place behind closed doors. But promoter Hearn has been steadfast in saying the bout will go ahead to end Joshua’s one-year absence from the ring.
Ring walks for the main event are expected to be between 2200 GMT (1700 ET) and 2300 GMT (1800 ET).
Anthony Joshua fight on TV: how to watch
A first career defeat has clearly done little to affect the popularity of Joshua or his brand, with his return fight with Ruiz reportedly generating close to 200,000 new subscribers for DAZN. The Londoner famously left Showtime in 2018 as part of an extraordinary eight-year, $1 billion deal between promoter Hearn’s Matchroom Sports outfit and streaming service DAZN. Hearn claims Joshua v Ruiz 2 also broke Sky’s UK record for pay-per-view buys. The fight generated 1.6 million buys at £24.95 apiece, eclipsing the previous record of 1.5 million buys – for AJ’s brilliant 2017 win over Klitschko.
The Pulev fight will be another Sky Sports Box Office production for pay-per-view customers (price to be confirmed), while DAZN will broadcast the showdown in all of its nine markets – the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland.
Anthony Joshua weight
Joshua’s weight for his return fight with Ruiz was a big talking point, with the Brit coming in at 237 lbs having previously hit the scales at 247.8 lbs for their first fight. He was noticeably less bulky in Saudi Arabia, and used the ring to great effect as he boxed Ruiz from the outside. 237 lbs was in fact the lightest he had scaled since his ninth pro fight against Denis Bakhtov in 2014 and after becoming world champion for the second time trainer Robert McCracken said he would like his man to come in at a similar weight for his next title defence. The heaviest Joshua has been as a pro is 254, which he weighed against Frenchmen Carlos Takam in October 2017.
Anthony Joshua promoter
The one man who was arguably more relieved than the fighter himself when Joshua reclaimed the world heavyweight title belts in Diriyah back in December was promoter Eddie Hearn. Hearn is one of the sport’s most colourful characters and his shows have morphed into legitimate world events. Hearn has become something of a pantomime villain among British boxing fans but he accepts it with good grace and works tirelessly to promote his fighters. Joshua is trained by former solid Birmingham pro Robert McCracken. McCracken came in for some stinging criticism after Joshua’s first pro defeat but the fighter stood by his trainer and the pair came up with the perfect game plan to win the belts back from Ruiz and take their place again at boxing’s top table.
Anthony Joshua recent fights
On June 1 in New York City Andy Ruiz Jr turned the heavyweight division upside down with a stoppage victory over AJ that was scarcely believable. Ruiz only got the gig as a late replacement after Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was denied a license after a positive test for a banned substance. It looked a mismatch on paper. The roly-poly no-hoper against the sculpted Adonis. In the event though the Londoner surrendering his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles at Madison Square Garden – via an improbable, incredible seventh round TKO – proved to be the defining moment of the sport in 2019. The victory for Ruiz completely changed the landscape in the heavyweight division. It set the Californian up for life financially while simultaneously crushing Joshua’s reputation as an unbeatable wrecking machine. We know now there are flaws in his game. Question marks about his punch resistance and stamina and a suspicion he is unable to smother an opponent in close when in trouble, or get the most from his jab against shorter foes.
If their first fight was phenomenal, their return in Saudi Arabia was a strangely tepid, emotionless affair. The audience in the Middle East was much less excitable but it was Joshua’s decision to box from the outside, and Ruiz’s decision not to take training seriously (he had added 15 lbs to his frame since their summer meeting) that proved crucial. Make no mistake, it was a veritable masterclass of safety-first boxing from AJ, demonstrating how to hit and not be hit against a paunchy Mexican American who was unable to rip through his defences like he did so convincingly at MSG six months previously. It wasn’t his most violent or indeed his most thrilling display but it was one of Joshua’s best performances of his career to date, as he cruised to victory following 36 minutes of intense concentration to become just the fourth boxer in history to regain the world heavyweight titles in an immediate rematch.
Anthony Joshua net worth
Joshua’s net worth is now estimated to be a staggering £107 million, and despite losing his ‘0’ he remains one of the most marketable active fighters in the sport. Forbes have described Joshua as “a marketing juggernaut with more than a dozen sponsors, including Under Armour, Jaguar LandRover, Beats, British Airways and Hugo Boss”. His promoters Matchroom Boxing also inked an eye-watering $1 billion deal over eight years with streaming platform DAZN in 2018.
The Sunday Times Rich List of 2020 puts Joshua in at number 2 in it’s Young Sportsmen category with his £107m second only to Real Madrid and Wales footballer Gareth Bale. The respected paper says Joshua more than doubled his wealth in the last year (up from £49m in 2019) – largely by earning a staggering £60million before tax and deductions for the Ruiz Jr rematch.
Forbes placed Joshua at number 19 on its list of the Highest-Paid Athletes of 2020 – claiming the British superstar earned a total of $47m (£38m) with a whopping $11m of that (£9m) from those lucrative endorsements with blue-chip brands. Later in 2020 Joshua was listed at number 57 on Forbes Celebrity 100.
Anthony Joshua family
“Stay humble” is a phrase used regularly by Joshua but despite his oft heard mantra Big Josh has been romantically linked with a slew of famous females in recent years, including Bella Hadid, Rita Ora, and Geordie Shore’s Chantelle Connelly. He had a 23-man entourage for his New York debut against Ruiz and is known for having a lot of people around him during training camps and on fight nights. Watford star Troy Deeney is a close friend of AJ following a chance meeting in a barber shop several years ago. To underline his popularity Joshua currently has a whopping 11.2 million followers on Instagram.
AJ has a brother and two sisters – Jacob, Loretta and Janet Joshua while father Robert Joshua is arguably his biggest fan. His mother Yeta hails from Nigeria. Joshua lived with his mum even when he was world champion and the pair remain very close. He had a son – JJ – with Nicola Osborne but the pair are no longer together.