Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua was born on 15 October 1989 in Watford, Hertfordshire, the son of Yeta and Robert Joshua. His mother is Nigerian, while his father is of Nigerian and Irish ancestry. Joshua’s Nigerian background can be specifically traced back to the Yoruba people. His cousin, Ben Ileyemi, is also a professional boxer. The pair made their professional debuts together in 2013
He is a former unified world heavyweight champion having held the WBA (Super), IBF and WBO titles between 2016 and 2019. At regional level he held the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles from 2014 to 2016.
Joshua represented England at the 2011 World Championships as an amateur in the super-heavyweight division, winning a silver medal; he also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, winning gold. In 2014, a year after turning professional, he was named Prospect of the Year by The Ring magazine. In 2017, his victorious fight against Wladimir Klitschko was named Fight of the Year by The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America. 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.
As of June 2019, Joshua is ranked as the world’s third best active heavyweight by BoxRec, and fourth by The Ring magazine and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Joshua spent some of his early years in Nigeria as a boarding school student at Mayflower School in Ikenne. Following his parents’ divorce when he was 12, he returned to the UK halfway through Year Seven to join Kings Langley Secondary School. Growing up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshi, he was called “Femi” by his friends and former teachers, due to his middle name, Oluwafemi. He excelled at football and athletics and broke his school’s Year Nine 100 m record with a time of 11.6 seconds.
Joshua has expressed an interest in chess as well as reading as a way to reinforce his boxing and tactical abilities. He was a bricklayer before taking up boxing full-time.
In 2009, Joshua was put on remand in Reading Prison for what he describes as “fighting and other crazy stuff”. He was made to wear an electronic tag on his ankle when released.
In March 2011, Joshua was pulled over by the police for speeding in Colindale, North London. He was found with eight ounces of herbal cannabis hidden in a sports bag in his Mercedes-Benz. He was charged with possession with intent to supply a class B drug, an offence that carries a maximum 14-year sentence. Joshua was suspended from the GB Boxing squad and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours’ unpaid work after pleading guilty at crown court.
1st June 2019 see the defeat of this acclaimed undefeatable boxer with Andy Ruiz Jr being the opponent. The fight took place at Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, US. He losts WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles to his opponent.
However it remains undisputed that, Anthony is still a highly celebrated world champion.
We celebrate him proudly!
Written & Compiled by McCoy Major Golding