I want my son to be an accountant, not a boxer

Reuters Anthony Joshua raised a fist with a smile at the camera while standing in a boxing ringReuters

Anthony Joshua wants his “little JJ” to shape his own future

British heavyweight Anthony Joshua says it would not be a “wise decision” if his son followed in his footsteps and became a professional boxer.

The two-time former unified heavyweight world champion said Desert Island Discs from BBC Radio 4 He would much rather his son Joseph Joshua, known as JJ, become an accountant instead, but added that he wants him to have his own future.

Joshua also spoke to presenter Lauren Laverne about how he got into trouble with the police for fighting as a teenager in Watford and how he became homeless at 17.

Looking back on his boxing career, Joshua said he discovered the sport at a time when he needed it most.

He told Desert Island Discs: “I would usually sit outside the settlement and just smoke a cigarette. Then I started getting into trouble… I just wanted to make money, that was my goal,” he said on the show.

“I was constantly getting into trouble.”

Joshua first entered the ring at the age of 18 when his cousin suggested he take up the sport. He said it helped him “channel my energy”.

Five years later, Joshua became a household name when he won gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

BBC Radio 4/BBC Sounds Anthony Joshua smiles at the camera and sits in front of a sign that reads “Desert Island Discs”BBC Radio 4/BBC Sounds

The 34-year-old said boxing helped him and now he wants to help others.

A year later, Joshua decided to turn professional – his big breakthrough came at the age of 27 when he met Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017.

In a sold-out Wembley Stadium, cheered on by 90,000 spectators, AJ – as his fans call him – knocked down the 41-year-old two-time world champion in the 11th round in one of the toughest but most entertaining heavyweight fights of all time.

He later said that the victory over Klitschko changed his career.

A knockout artist, AJ went 22 professional fights undefeated, winning 21 of them, and rose to prominence over the next decade.

However, the low point in the boxer’s career came in 2022, when He failed to regain the unified heavyweight titles of WBO, WBA and IBF from his arch enemy, the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia.

As Joshua tried to come to terms with the loss, he initially denied that it had had a profound impact on him.

“I don’t feel anything,” he said after Usyk defeated him in a spectacular rematch before throwing two championship belts out of the ring.

But at a post-fight press conference, Joshua apologized, held back his tears, buried his head in his hands and said the defeat had “torn him apart.”

Speaking to Desert Island Discs, he said the defeat left him breaking down, at one point going into a “dark room” for five days where he couldn’t talk to anyone in order to “heal mentally from the inside out.”

PA Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk BoxingP.A.

Anthony Joshua fought against Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia in 2022

Joshua said it was around this time that he realized he needed to have “more meaningful conversations” with his family.

Outside the world of boxing, AJ is known as an extremely private man for whom family loyalty is of utmost importance.

He grew up as one of seven children and lived between his mother’s house and his father’s.

In various interviews he spoke lovingly about his mother Yeta Odusanya and his son JJ.

Shortly after his career took off, he bought a house for his mother.

“If you are a man who takes the initiative in the house, freedom also means making sure your parents are taken care of,” he told the BBC.

“For me, it’s a feeling of freedom to know that my mom is happy and taken care of, no matter where in the world I am.”

Joshua says he has “always kept boxing away from his family,” adding that he is father and son first and foremost.

Does he want his son to get into the ring?

He had previously stated that he had not envisioned such a life for his “little JJ” and instead wanted his son to “become the best man he can be.”

Speak with CDs for the desert islandJoshua revealed that his views on his son’s future have not changed, saying he would tell JJ to “do his best” if he told him what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“If I had to choose (a career) for him, I would probably ask him to go into accounting because I think it’s good to have something to do with numbers,” he said.

But what does his own future look like? Is he planning to retire?

There are no plans for his retirement yet, but he said that when he eventually gives up the sport, he would like to start a nursing home for former boxers in ill health.

“It would be part of my boxing legacy to give something back to the sport that shaped me,” he said.

“I know I’m not going to be in the hot seat my whole life, so I have to make smart decisions while the iron is hot.”

Desert Island Discs was recorded on Friday, April 12, 2024.

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