Meet Anthony Joshua, the current holder of the world IBF champion. He has always been a fighter from the onset. But he wasn’t most times destined for greatness. Long before he became heavyweight champion of the world, fighting led the young man down a darker path.
As a teenage tearaway, he was constantly caught scrapping in the street in his home town of Watford, Herts.
He once ended up been jailed, and two times avoided long jail terms. But his misspent youth is a far cry from his life now, because already Anthony is one of Britain’s most successful sportsmen, on Saturday night he made yet another boxing history.
He defended his IBF heavyweight title against the legendary Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, in a fight guaranteed to earn both boxers at least £15million each.
As Joshua himself admitted: “But for boxing, I would be behind bars.”
A glance at his family photo album confirms he is a born fighter.
One of his mum Yeta’s favourite pictures shows him as a baby with his fists up, guarding his chin like a champion.
But Yeta said: “As a kid he was a very quiet boy and even today I see him as being very gentle.”
Joshua, now 27, had his first run-in with the police at age 16. At that time, he was a promising footballer and athlete who could run 100 metres in less than 11 seconds.
But a clash during a school football match saw him charged with actual bodily harm.
He recalled: “This guy was trying to wind me up. I got him round the neck and threw him over my shoulder.
“I didn’t know my own strength and he didn’t land too well. It went to court. Luckily, they gave me a slap across the wrist.”
Joshua may have escaped jail that time, but he was still heading for trouble.
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