Anthony Joshua reveals the inspiration for an emotional comeback fight after breaking down in tears after defeat by Usyk
ANTHONY JOSHUA couldn’t hide the pain of his devastating World Championship fight losses from his seven-year-old son and credits his boy with helping him in Saturday’s emotional comeback.
Little JJ would have been put to bed last August when Oleksandr Usyk cheated on his father for the second time in 11 months.
The Ukrainian genius first saw AJ’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight crowns in London last September.
After the second defeat, when Joshua failed to regain his titles in Saudi Arabia, the Watford hero threw a tantrum his schoolboy son would have been proud of.
But in the post-fight press conference, he broke down in tears and sobbed under the completely false impression that he had failed Britain after a glorious decade of winning the London 2012 Olympics and being a two-time world heavyweight champion.
It was hard to see how much the 33-year-old had given to British sport and impossible for Joshua to hide from his son – and possible boxing heirs – as he returned home, beaten and injured but never broken.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” AJ revealed when asked if his son could feel his pain.
“He’s seven, he’ll be eight this year. He’s aware of it, but I don’t think he cares. He knows it’s boxing, he and his cousins box every now and then. He’s definitely aware.
“He’s like me when I’m losing, so is he when he’s losing. We’re bad losers.
“Honestly, he throws a big tantrum, but I like to see that side of him. It shows that he cares.”
Joshua makes his comeback against American Jermaine Franklin at London’s O2, a fight he must win if he is to dance with the likes of Usyk or WBC king Tyson Fury.
When asked if little JJ was part of the motivation to return to the bear pit and risk the ridicule and danger with so much credit and money in the bank, he simply said, “Yes.
“Initially just for me. Now it goes – me, the family and then the community.
“There’s that family element, but it’s not just him, it’s the whole family.”
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Joshua loves the competitive spirit that flows through his bloodline, but he also knows how dark and dirty the bleeding business is.
So he’s torn as to whether his pride and joy will ever fight for money he hopes never to need thanks to dad’s tough transplant.
And the idea of harsh boxing critics comparing the father-son dynasty is already sapping his paternal instincts.
Joshua explained: “I think he would have a good run based on my experience. I could guide him to give him a head start.
“One thing I would say to him, if he were to do it – because it’s his choice and I wouldn’t force him to do it – I would say, ‘Don’t compete with me, try to be your own person.’
“I would say to him, ‘Everything I have achieved in boxing is not for you to try and compare and use for your own purposes.’
“I don’t want him to start boxing and everyone’s asking about his father, ‘Are you going to be like him?’ It’s too much pressure.
“That’s the advice I would give him if he did, but I wouldn’t advise him.”
New American trainer Derrick James convinced AJ to move to his Dallas gym for this camp, ripping him away from his close-knit family for about three months.
And despite returning to England last week to re-acclimate, Joshua has locked himself away in a secret Wimbledon base and refuses to break his laser focus for emotional distractions.
When asked if being 5,000 or 15 miles from loved ones was more difficult, he immediately said: “Twenty minutes across London.
“It’s crazy because we’re so connected now it’s hard to disconnect. But if you’re looking for specific answers, you can actually listen to yourself a little more when you’re not connected.
“Being a little further away from the distractions and the hubbub and the little distractions, being further away was better, being home is harder.
“When you travel from one country to another, you want to keep that rhythm.
“I feel like no matter how much practice you’ve put in, 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 will do so until fight night.”
When 18-year-old bricklayer and party boy Joshua decided to abandon a life of petty crime and focus on boxing, he accepted that the next 20 years would be tantamount to prison.
There would be loneliness, pain, stress, punishment, rejection, failure and sacrifice – many, many sacrifices.
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He is nearing his freedom but is fed up with the repetitive retirement questions and believes one of the hardest sacrifices was walking out of Reading Prison’s Detention Unit as an adorable teenager to address the world at a 2020 Commonwealth celebration.
The fiercely private Joshua said: “It’s hard to say what the biggest sacrifice was but in this business people want a peek into your life.
“I had to put myself in positions I was never trained to do. For example, I stood in front of the Queen and read a speech in Westminster Abbey that I was never really prepared for.
“I’ve never gotten out of that walk of life and the sacrifice is to go there and put yourself out in front of the public.
“After that gig, I went back to the estate with my buddies, so it’s a sacrifice.
“I wanted to do better, but I wasn’t there yet and I set myself higher expectations. But I’m just a normal guy.”
Yes, of course you are, champ.
https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/10452581/anthony-joshua-oleksandr-usyk-jermaine-franklin/ Anthony Joshua reveals the inspiration for an emotional comeback fight after breaking down in tears after defeat by Usyk