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Anthony Joshua reveals the inspiration for emotional comeback fight vs Franklin



ANTHONY JOSHUA could not hide the pain of his devastating world title fight losses from his seven-year-old son and credits his boy with helping him make Saturday’s emotional comeback.

Little JJ would have been tucked up in bed last August when Oleksandr Usyk bamboozled his dad for the second time inside 11 months.

Anthony Joshua's son convinced him to return to the ring

The first occasion saw the Ukrainian genius take AJ’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight crowns in London the previous September.

After the second defeat, as Joshua failed to regain his titles in Saudi Arabia, the Watford hero threw a tantrum that his schoolboy son would have been proud of.

But in the post-fight press conference he broke down in tears and sobbed under the totally false impression that he had let Britain down, after a glorious decade winning the London 2012 Olympics and being two-time heavyweight champion of the world.


It was hard to watch, knowing how much the 33-year-old had given to British sport, and impossible for Joshua to hide from his son — and possible boxing heir — when he got home, beaten and bruised but never broken.

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“Oh yeah, definitely,” AJ revealed when asked if his son could sense his pain.

“He’s seven, he is going to be eight this year. He’s aware but I don’t think he cares. He knows it’s boxing, him and his cousins box now and again. He’s definitely aware.

“He’s like me when I lose, that’s how he is when he loses. We are bad losers.

“Honestly, he throws a big tantrum but I like seeing that side of him. It shows he cares.”

Joshua makes his comeback against American Jermaine Franklin at London’s O2, a fight he must win if he wants to dance with the likes of Usyk or WBC king Tyson Fury.

Asked if little JJ was part of the motivation to return to the bearpit and risk the ridicule and danger with so much credit and money in the bank, he said, simply: “Yes.

“At first it was just for myself. Now it goes — myself, the family and then the community.


“There is that family element but it is not just him, it’s the whole family.”


Joshua couldn't hold back his tears after he lost to Oleksandr Usyk

Joshua loves the competitive spirit running through his bloodline but he also knows how dark and dirty the bleeding business is.

So he is torn on whether his pride and joy will ever fight for money he will hopefully never need, thanks to dad’s hard graft.

And the idea of harsh boxing critics comparing the father-son dynasty is already eating away at his paternal instinct.

Joshua explained: “I think he would have a good run at it because of the experience that I’ve got. I would be able to guide him, so he would have a head start.

“One thing I would tell him, if he was to do it — because it’s his decision and I wouldn’t force him to do it — I would say ‘don’t compete with me, try to be your own individual’.


“I’d tell him, ‘Anything I’ve achieved in boxing is not for you to try to match and use it for your own reasons’.

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“I wouldn’t want him to get into boxing and everyone is asking about his dad, ‘Are you going to be like him?’ It’s too much pressure.

“That’s the advice I would give him, if he was to do it but I wouldn’t advise him.”

New American trainer Derrick James convinced AJ to move to his Dallas gym for this camp, tearing him away from his close-knit family for around three months.

And even though he returned to England last week to reacclimatise, Joshua has kept himself locked away at a secret Wimbledon base and refused to break his laser focus for any emotional distractions.

When asked if it was harder being 5,000 or 15 miles away from his loved ones, he instantly said: “Twenty minutes across London.

“It’s crazy because we are so connected now that it’s hard to get disconnected. But, when you’re searching for certain answers, you can actually listen to yourself a bit more when you’re disconnected.

Joshua lost twice to Usyk in his last two boxing fights

“Being a bit further away from the distractions and the hustle and bustle and small distractions, being further away has been better, being home is harder.

“When you travel from one country to another, you kind of want to keep that same rhythm.

“I feel, no matter how much training you’ve done, you could potentially let your opponent catch up by slipping in the last week or so.

“I’ve kept it disciplined up until now and I will until fight night.”

When 18-year-old bricklayer and party-boy Joshua decided to turn his back on a life of petty crime to focus on boxing, he accepted the next 20 years would be like a prison sentence.

There was going to be loneliness, pain, stress, punishment, rejection, failure and sacrifice — lots and lots of sacrifice.

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Now nearing his freedom, but sick of repetitive retirement questions, he reckons one of the toughest sacrifices was going from the remand wing at Reading prison as a tearaway teen to addressing The Queen, at a 2020 Commonwealth celebration, with the world watching.


The intensely-private Joshua said: “It’s hard to say what the biggest sacrifice has been but in this business people want to have a look into your life.

“I had to put myself forward into positions I had never been nurtured for. I stood up in front of The Queen for example, reading a speech at Westminster Abbey, that I’ve never ever really been prepared for.

“I never came from that walk of life and the sacrifice is getting up there and presenting yourself to the public.

“After that gig, I went back to the estate with my mates, so it’s a sacrifice.

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“I wanted to do better but I hadn’t come from there and I’m exposing myself to higher expectations. But I’m just a normal guy.”

Yeah, of course you are, Champ.

Source: The Sun


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