Anthony Joshua has become one of the biggest names in boxing, defeating opponent after opponent and claiming multiple championships along the way. His professional record currently stands at 21-0, with 20 of those wins coming in the form of knockouts. The sole decision win came in his most recent fight against Joseph Parker in March this year. The victory saw Joshua add the WBO Heavyweight title to the IBF and IBO Heavyweight titles as well as the WBA Super Heavyweight title which he already holds.
Come September 22nd, Joshua will be putting all four of his championships on the line when he takes on Alexander Povetkin. His Russian opponent may be 39 years old, but after 35 professional fights, he has only lost one, by unanimous decision against Wladimir Klitschko. Despite Povetkin’s impressive record, in Joshua v Povetkin boxing odds, it is Joshua who is the clear favourite. He’s currently priced at 1/12 to extend his undefeated record to 22-0.
In interviews, Joshua always comes across as a calm, down-to-earth person, who has respect for his fellow competitors, even if he is confident he will win his upcoming bout. This is a far cry from the youngster who had several run-ins with the authorities.
Life could have so easily turned out differently for the 28 year old, whose first brush with the law came at age 16. When playing football at school, an opponent was able to wind him up so much that Joshua grabbed him by the throat and threw him over his shoulder. What followed was a charge of actual bodily harm and a warning from the police.
Soon after, he moved out of the flat he shared with his mum and moved into a hostel. He fell into the wrong crowd whilst there and partook in street fighting which resulted in Joshua being arrested and placed on remand for two weeks at Reading prison. He was electronically tagged and placed on a curfew for 14 months. This would be the first wake-up call in his life.
He moved back in with his mum and enrolled on a bricklaying course until, one day, when he was 17, his cousin took him to a local boxing club. It was here that the trainers could see his innate ability and Joshua was able to unleash his natural aggression.
Although he looked to have turned his life around, there was one final incident that could have so easily sent him back down the wrong path. He put his whole boxing career in jeopardy in 2011 when he was stopped by the police for speeding. After conducting a search of his kit bag, the police uncovered cannabis. He was charged with possession and was sentenced to a 12 month community order and 100 hours of unpaid work. It was after this event that Joshua changed the people around him, altered his attitude and became a more respectable man.
The possession charge resulted in him being suspended from the British boxing squad. Fortunately, he was able to return in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Joshua defeated Erislandy Savon of Cuba, Zhang Zhilei of China and Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan on his way to the super heavyweight final. In the final against Italian Roberto Cammarelle, the two battled to an 18-18 draw, however Joshua was awarded the victory after a count back, claiming Olympic gold in the process.
Just a few months after his success at the Olympics, Joshua was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours for services to boxing. He turned professional in 2013, finishing his amateur career with a record of 40-3.
His first professional fight came against the Italian Emanuele Leo, and despite Joshua’s opponent having fought in eight more professional fights than he had, it was Joshua who came across as the more composed and well-rounded boxer. At times Leo was throwing wild punches in an effort to put Joshua off his game. However, Joshua managed to win the bout in the first round with fewer than 20 seconds remaining. This was the beginning of Joshua’s incredible professional record.
He has ended the undefeated streaks of Gary Cornish, Dillian Whyte, Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale and Joseph Parker. He also became only the fifth person to ever defeat the legendary Wladimir Klitschko.
He secured impressive knockout victories over Charles Martin, Eric Molina and long-time rival Dillian Whyte, who had previously beaten Joshua when the pair boxed as amateurs.
His most recent fight, against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, saw Joshua win via unanimous decision, the first time he had ever claimed victory in this manner in his professional career.
Russian Alexander Povetkin is next up for Joshua and he will be hoping to upset the champion, who has so far dominated the heavyweight division of boxing. Will Povetkin be able to continue his impressive career, or will he, like so many others before him, become just another victim in the career of Anthony Joshua?by