Anthony Joshua is sitting in the back seat of his brand new Range Rover SVAutobiography. It’s just been delivered to him on the gravel driveway of the Finchley and District Amateur Boxing Club, and the fresh leather smells like victory.
Inside the gym there’s a photograph on the wall of a young AJ — skinny, springy, hopeful. And inside the car there’s a subtle reminder of just how far that boy has come — a special crest emblazoned with the letters IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO. The real AJ, however, seems to live somewhere between the two. At some moments he’s considered, serious, philosophical. At others he gently takes the piss out of me. But mostly, of course, he’s just AJ the gentleman fighter — the nice guy who can’t stop finishing first.
“When I’m training, the main thought running through my head is: Why am I here! Why did my cousin take me to boxing all those years ago! I could lie to you and say: “no, I don’t think that, I’m a soldier.” It is tough. But the real question you’re asking yourself is: “how great can I be?” So when you want to give up, and you think: “why am I here?”, you can either use that question as a negative or you can use it as a positive.”
“I wish I had the same energy I did when I was 18. I’m shattered all the time now! Back then I could train, I could go out, I could run on two hours sleep. They were good times — less pressure. If I was speaking to young AJ now I would say: embrace your youth, embrace that time. I’d also say to him: look, if you’re going to have fun in your twenties, make sure you knuckle down from 30 to 40. And then, on the other end of if, if you’re going to have fun later on in life, make sure you’re ready to sacrifice your youth.”
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