Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua commonly called “AJ”; MBE (born 15 October 1989) is a British professional boxer who was born in Watford to a Nigerian mother Yeta Odusanya and a British father Robert of Nigerian descent. Specifically, he is of Yoruba ethnicity. His cousin is fellow unbeaten professional boxer Ben lleyemi. The pair made their professional debuts together in 2013.
Joshua grew up for some of his early years in Nigeria and returned to the UK halfway through Year Seven to join Kings Langley Secondary School. Growing up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshire, Joshua was called ‘Femi’ by his friends and former teachers, due to his middle name ‘Oluwafemi’. He excelled at football and athletics and broke the Year Nine 100m record with a time of 11.6 seconds.
AJ began the lifestyle of boxing in 2007, at only the age of 18, when his cousin suggested he take it up, prior to this, Anthony had a talent for athletics and football from his younger days; which probably explain his swiftness and dexterity in the ring . His club, Finchley ABC in Barnet, North London, is also home to professional heavyweight Dereck Chisora. Joshua won the 2009 and 2010 Haringey Box Cup. Joshua won the senior ABA Championships in 2010, in only his 18th bout, and later turned down £50,000 to turn professional. “Turning down that £50,000 was easy. I didn’t take up the sport for money, I want to win medals.” He also went on to win the same tournament the following year.
In the year of 2007, Anthony Joshua came to Nigeria prior to the “2008 Olympic Games Beijing” to try to reconnect to his ancestral roots to give back to the country that lies his Yoruba heritage; AJ offered his sportsmanship and boxing prowess to fight for Nigeria in the 2008 Olympic; unfortunately AJ did not achieve his goal as he was rejected by Nigeria’s boxing officials. Disappointed, AJ went back to England to continue his boxing career. In 2010 his domestic success earned him a place on the GB Boxing team and later the same year he became British amateur champion at the GB Amateur Boxing Championships after defeating Amin Isa. In June 2011 at the 2011 European Amateur Boxing Championships he beat Eric Berechlin and Cathal McMonagle but was stopped by aggressive Romanian southpaw Mihai Nistor after receiving several standing counts. In October 2011 he was named Amateur Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Club of Great Britain. Joshua had an amateur record of 40-3.. In the year 2012, Anthony Joshua took the gold medal for Britain in the 2012 Olympic Games. Some Nigerian still wonder today, if only they accept his offer to fight for free for Nigeria, could that had been our first ever gold in the Olympics boxing heavyweight tournament.
Anthony Joshua is currently a unified world heavyweight champion, having held the IBF title since 2016, and the WBA (Super) and IBO titles since April 2017. As of October 2017, Joshua is ranked as the world’s best active heavyweight by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and BoxRec, and second by The Ring. His knockout-to-win ratio stands at 100%. Joshua is the second British boxer, after James DeGale, to win both a gold medal at the Olympics and a world title by a major professional sanctioning body, as well as being the first British heavyweight to do so. He is also the second boxer, after Joe Frazier, to win a world heavyweight title whilst still reigning as Olympic champion at the top weight. As of November 2017, Joshua has the 12th longest combined title streak in modern boxing history at 5 title bouts.
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