Verge Meets: Anthony Joshua with JD

Chatting to presenters Chuckie Online and Elz The Witch, two-time champ AJ spoke candidly about the aftermath of his latest fight, giving back to the community, his business ambitions and why he’s still just a regular guy. He also promised boxing fans around the world that he will fight Wilder, honour legend in the game Muhammad Ali as part of his legacy and invited Watford’s Tory Deeney to spar with him in Finchley.


Fighting Deontay Wilder

“Wilder is a talented fighter but he’s just another fighter to me that I’d like to challenge. I promise you, before he’s done and before I’m done… we’re in the same era, the same division – heavyweights, both got some belts and it would be crazy for the history of boxing a thousand years from now when none of us are here.. oh they never fought? So for politics or none, but for legacy and history this fight will definitely happen” 


Sparring with Tory Deeney

“He’s never actually invited me down to Watford but he’s actually been down to Finchley a few times to do some training. I love football so I’d definitely take the opportunity up if he invited me down and he loves boxing so the doors always open for him”


Future fights and honouring Muhammad Ali

“It’s interesting, Saudi Arabia definitely had an impact. Mohammed Ali I rated him as a boxer but what I rated him for is what he’s done outside of the ring. It’s hard because the most important thing for me to do is be beating people, that’s all that matters, that’s the brand and if I’m winning people are listening. On the other side of it, if you build up a following and an audience so you can start relaying a message, some of it’s got to be organic as well, let’s say we want to go to Congo, not as a fight but to visit the arena where Mohammed Ali fought in, it hasn’t been visited by [any] heavyweight or boxer and they’re going to build a statue. We’re in talks to try to meet their president – that will be part of the legacy. No heavyweight – Mike Tyson, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder – has made the journey to see such a historical place in boxing history there so that will be nice, that’s part of legacy. It’s not always business-business, sometimes it’s just about connecting with people”


Fame and celebrity culture

The difference is I’m not shy of people, I think famous people they act famous because they’re scared to interact with people they don’t know, fame is distancing yourself from reality, you think you’re different from most people. I’m not like that, I’m not really into all that fame stuff to be honest”


“I’m still close to my roots, I’m going to go to Nigeria soon to connect with certain people and they’re like ‘ah you’ve got meet this governor’ and I’m like ‘nah take me to the ghetto’. Because that’s where, you know, a person who’s running a million dollar company doesn’t need any inspiration from me, but the person who is trying to get out of their situation that needs some support may need some inspiration. When I link up with all my boys and we talk about where we grew up and we all talk about the old days which was only 10 years ago, we’re still so well connected, still well respected, and that’s the main thing.  I haven’t distanced myself so far from what’s real in my opinion”


What AJ wants to be remembered for
“Everyone deserves respect but what do you have to do to earn it? Doing good by others, standing for what I believe in. With boxing it’s about being smart, because we get punched in the head a lot, people think we have no brains and no one thinks they will even last- waiting for you to get dumbed down so they can take advantage of you. It’s really important to stay on top of your game”


Giving back to the community

“There’s so many things that I would love to give back to. One of the things is prisons, because they are supposed to be for reforming people and they are like the forgotten generation to a certain degree. I mean some deserve to be where they are some don’t, some learn while they’re there. I think single mums it’s important to help and also I think kids. You know when kids leave school at 3pm and when you think about it that’s where recruiting youngers comes in, a kid leaves school at 3pm and doesn’t really have anywhere to go to, mum can’t leave work as she finishes at 6pm and the kids are just roaming around so that is where opening centres, youth clubs are important so kids have somewhere to go to and parents can still work then and pay the bills and kids aren’t roaming around. There’s so many things that you wish you could do but the way the world is set up is that it keeps your mind bogged down on just trying to get yourself out of your own rat race”


AJ’s New Year’s resolutions

“There’s a lot more coming in this year, so it’s about creating a structure  and organisation takes time so every quarter I have quarterly meetings, vision planning for the company, personal vision plans for what I want to achieve myself so it just creates more time to free up time for other things. I’m the same old G, nothing’s changing within myself it’s just I think the more time that I have mentally the more time I’ll have to think of other stuff. So I want to create more time by creating a more structured process with my work life which will free me up to work on myself”


“Maybe one day when I’m like 45 I might start flexing a bit more but at the minute it’s gutter, its grind season, my head’s screwed on and my feet are on the ground because I just know I can achieve a lot in this one life I live, anyone can. I definitely put my mind to it, I’m a proper thinker, when I really think about a process I know I can put my mind to it, that’s what I’m trying to achieve this year, like with New Year’s resolutions and stuff and nothing’s going to stop me”


AJ as a business mogul

“I have to sell myself and educate myself and the game, I have a shelf life.. I have to build myself and my value before I stop boxing and go into my next life so that’s why it’s important to be business minded as an individual coz I am my own brand at the minute”


“I thought the business world is a lot harder than fighting, I’ve created a great team and I can focus on being the best version of the boxer I’m trying to be right now. I’ve gone through tough times, not just in boxing but the business world… it’s tough. But now I can focus solely on my boxing”


“Fighting was never hard for me, I used to get beat, I got tough. Knowledge is hard but no one knows everything. It’s relative in what you do. I was more of a jack the lad growing up, I knew about a different hustle, that’s where my knowledge was based but it didn’t relate to the real world. That’s why business became interesting to me… Imagine I walked into the gym and then 3 years later I’m at the Olympics. I never watched sport growing up. I have all these business men who’ve been to the best schools and universities in the country and I am discussing business with them and I’m fighting my corner as the AJ brand, I had to learn the intricacies of what being a business man is all about.”


Download the podcast here:


Anthony Joshua was speaking to JD as part of their ‘In The Duffle Bag’ podcast series. Download from iTunes, Spotify and A-cast and leave a review for the chance to win 2 x tickets to AJ’s next fight.


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