Anthony Joshua talks legacy: It’s not about the glory

Anthony Joshua appears to have it all, but the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion is already thinking about his legacy both in and out of the ring.

AJ (23-1 as a professional) defends his belts against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev at London’s SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday night. The bout will air live on Sky Sports Box Office (£24.95) and DAZN.

But in an interview with ‘Off The Cuff’ on DAZN, the Watford man talked about what is still to come, and what he’d like to be remembered for. It is not for victories, or titles.

“It would be no envy towards up-and-coming fighters, just show them admiration and respect. Because I know how tough it is. And be able to guide them throughout their career. Not only boxers, but athletes, footballers, tennis players. I understand management, what it takes to be an athlete. Preparation for training camps, some of the pressures, etc.”

Meanwhile outside the ropes, Joshua believes he can be a real role model and show that people can make mistakes and bounce back.

“Outside the ring, ultimately a young man that managed himself well as a businessman and went on his later career to build an empire. I think that’s important, especially as boxers, to showcase that we do have brains.  Because there’s such a bad stigma sometimes around boxing.

“And also it’s important to be a role model to all communities. Even though I don’t want that pressure, because I make mistakes, so being a role model sometimes you’re not allowed to make mistakes. But also I want to show that you can make mistakes because I made a lot of mistakes growing up. And boxing helped sort me out.

“So I want to showcase you can mistakes, you can bounce back, you get older, you get wiser. I wanna just be there for different communities, help different youth coming up as well. So that’s more my legacy outside the ring. Business – that puts me in a position to give back.”

The belts and baubles, and the glitz and the glamour, are very much a part of prize fighting. But once the lights have dimmed, Joshua would prefer a very different legacy.

“I don’t care about that because no-one in this room will remember certain athletes years ago. Time don’t stop. I’ll only be remember after boxing even if I’m one of the all-time greats a hundred years max. Time goes so I’m not trying to put myself in people’s mindset just for sport.

“I think long-lasting change, that you can change a family’s life, you can inspire a kid to be an accountant or a lawyer, that can change a whole community. Education, maybe build a school. Once you put those bricks into the ground and you build as school, that won’t go nowhere for hundreds of years. That’s legacy.