Anthony Joshua: 11 things you didn’t know about the champ
Staff writer - September 02, 2018

Anthony Joshua: 11 things you didn’t know about the champ

Why would a multi-millionaire move back into his mum's ex-council house?
Anthony Joshua in a council estate

As we wait for live boxing to resume and Anthony Joshua's return on the ring we shine a light on a few lesser-known facts about the heavyweight champ that would make for great pub quiz questions.

Here’s 11 things you didn’t know about Anthony Joshua that might surprise you...

1. Anthony Joshua is properly into chess


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Joshua isn’t all about fists of fury, he’s actually pretty smart too. The champ was put onto the strategic board game by boxing legend Lennox Lewis.

Joshua says, “Chess, it’s the same type of thing in the ring, like taking one of your opponent’s pieces and then counter-attacking. You need to be two moves ahead all the time.”

2. Watford has a gold post box in Anthony Joshua’s honour

Anthony Joshua's gold post box in Watford

After Joshua won gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, Royal Mail decided to mark the occasion by painting a post box in his hometown of Watford to mark the occasion.

It’s still there today.

3. He moved back into his mum’s ex-council house


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Boxers have a bit of a reputation for burning through the cash they earn in the ring - but not Joshua.

The Watford lad doesn’t throw his cash around that much and was back living with his dear old mum in 2017, despite previously renting a £20k-a-week mansion.

AJ said of his plans to celebrate his win against Wladimir Klitschko, "Normally I take a holiday, but I think this time what I'm going to do is just pop round to some of my family's house and catch up.”

4. Anthony Joshua turned down £50k to compete in the Olympics

Anthony Joshua smiling

Sports promoters were onto Joshua’s potential long before he won gold at the London 2012 Olympics. The star was offered £50,000 to turn pro in 2010 - but he wasn’t interested.

He said, “I didn’t take up the sport for money. I want to win medals.”

5. Prince Charles wondered why he doesn't play basketball


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Just in case his heavyweight title wasn’t enough for you - Joshua’s MBE should help convince you the guy is a pretty big deal.

Anthony Joshua was knighted by the Queen in 2013 for services to boxing. Prince Charles asked the 6' 6" giant, "Shouldn't you be playing basketball?" 

MORE: 10 reasons you need to be there for Joshua vs Povetkin 

6. He’s got a tattoo of Nigeria on his arm


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Joshua was born and raised in Watford, but his mum is from Nigeria and his dad is of Nigerian/Irish descent.

To express pride for his African heritage, Joshua got a tattoo of the continent inked on his upper-right arm, with Nigeria clearly highlighted.

7. Anthony Joshua used to be a brickie

Anthony Joshua in the ring

Before he was knocking the blocks off of giant Ukranians, Joshua earned a wage on construction sites.

It was his boxer cousin Ben lleyemi that eventually convinced him to put down the bricks and put on the gloves.

8. His mates call him ‘Femi’


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While most boxing fans know Anthony Joshua as AJ, his mates have a slightly more affectionate nickname for him.

Around Watford, people know him as ‘Femi’, which is short for the boxer’s middle name ‘Oluwafemi’.

9. He beat an Olympic runner in a live TV race


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Unsatisfied with simply being the heavyweight champion, Joshua competed in a TV special of 'Superstars' to prove he’s got what it takes on the track as well.

Joshua ran 100m in 11.53 seconds, beating Olympic runner Mo Farah (long-distance runner, but still…)

10. He got a gold medal with only five years boxing experience

Anthony Joshua holding his belts

Boxers normally start training at a young age, but Joshua didn’t get into the sport until he was 18.

Five years later, Joshua proved it’s never too late to start when he came home from London 2012 with a gold medal before going on to win the IBF, WBA and IBO titles.

11. Anthony Joshua has a Nando’s black card


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Nando’s secret High Five black card - which entitles the holder and their mates to free Nando’s for a year - is the stuff of legend.

Only fitting that a living boxing legend should get one then. Joshua joins an exclusive list of celebrity black card holders, including Ed Sheeran, David Beckham and Oprah Winfrey.

MORE: 10 Anthony Joshua quotes that'll get you through the week

Stay tuned to LineUp for more on Anthony Joshua latest fight - plus more from Matchroom Boxing.