Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua 2: AJ keen to lean on lessons of amateur career

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua has revealed how his boxing career almost went up in smoke following a drugs conviction in 2011 - and how a subsequent painful loss rekindled his passion for the sport.

Joshua is completing preparations for the so-called 'Clash on the Dunes' in Diriyah as he looks to regain the world heavyweight titles and reverse his stunning loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in June.

The 30-year-old was initially kicked off the Great Britain squad after admitting possession of cannabis - then suffered a stoppage defeat to Mihai Nistor at the European Championships within weeks of being invited back.

Joshua told the PA news agency: "After I got kicked off the GB squad I went back to Watford and started smoking again and tried to forget all about boxing. I thought - and I could use different language - 'This is nonsense'.

"Then two weeks before the Europeans they called me up and said, 'We want you to compete'. I got to the quarter-finals and got stopped, but I knew if I'd been fit I would have beaten the guy."

Ruiz v AJ II takes place on Saturday
Ruiz v AJ II takes place on Saturday

Four months later Joshua suffered another defeat in the World Championship final to Magomedrasul Medzhidov, who is scheduled to fight Hatfield's Tom Little on the Saudi Arabia undercard.

But in many respects his single-point reversal in the Azeri's home city of Baku proved the making of Joshua, who had also scored a notable win over double reigning world champion Roberto Cammarelle in the quarter-finals.

"I got myself fit and ready for the worlds and got beaten by the Azeri in Azerbaijan," recalled Joshua.

"The Olympics were coming up in London and being a Londoner I told myself I was going to win that."

Joshua's third and final amateur nemesis, Dillian Whyte - whom he subsequently went on to beat as a professional - is also set to appear on the Saudi card.

Despite that reversal coming in a novice contest in 2009, Joshua maintains there are lessons from that fight which linger and have continued to inform his attitude during his rise to superstar status.

"I had won my first two fights as an amateur by knockout, so for my third one I told all my boys to come and I got knocked down, so I thought, 'F*** that, I'm going to keep it low-key'.

"There's nothing wrong with taking losses - it's just an experience and you learn from those situations.

"If you correct your wrongs and don't shy away from them, you can always bounce back."

Andy Ruiz JR and Anthony Joshua will meet on Saturday
Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua: Tale of the tape

Ruiz Jr v Joshua II: Big fight details

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Get On The Yager looks a big price on Saturday1

Value Bet: Yager meister!

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot tackles the two handicaps over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday while he has two selections at Sandown as well.

Simon Holt previews the action
2

Simon Holt: Fine bet

Our in-form tipster and leading commentator has two Saturday fancies including an 18/1 chance at Sandown.

Oli Bell highlights his Saturday picks3

Oli Bell: Trust Mee

Oli Bell looks ahead to the feature races at Sandown and Aintree on Saturday, with As De Mee fancied over the Grand National fences.

The Sporting Life team provide their free tips for Saturday's action across a range of sports4

Saturday's Bets of the Day

Our writers combine to pick out Saturday's best betting opportunities, with racing selections from Sandown to Wolverhampton and our take on the Manchester derby.

Check out the latest daily racing preview5

Saturday's racing preview

Defi Du Seuil can silence the doubters on his ability to be a top two-miler, according to Keith Hamer - he previews the Saturday racing.

Most Read

Get On The Yager looks a big price on Saturday1

Value Bet: Yager meister!

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot tackles the two handicaps over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday while he has two selections at Sandown as well.

Simon Holt previews the action
2

Simon Holt: Fine bet

Our in-form tipster and leading commentator has two Saturday fancies including an 18/1 chance at Sandown.

Oli Bell highlights his Saturday picks3

Oli Bell: Trust Mee

Oli Bell looks ahead to the feature races at Sandown and Aintree on Saturday, with As De Mee fancied over the Grand National fences.

The Sporting Life team provide their free tips for Saturday's action across a range of sports4

Saturday's Bets of the Day

Our writers combine to pick out Saturday's best betting opportunities, with racing selections from Sandown to Wolverhampton and our take on the Manchester derby.

Check out the latest daily racing preview5

Saturday's racing preview

Defi Du Seuil can silence the doubters on his ability to be a top two-miler, according to Keith Hamer - he previews the Saturday racing.

Racing Tips

Get On The Yager looks a big price on Saturday

Value Bet: Yager meister!

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot tackles the two handicaps over the Grand National fences at Aintree on Saturday while he has two selections at Sandown as well.

Simon Holt previews the action

Simon Holt: Fine bet

Our in-form tipster and leading commentator has two Saturday fancies including an 18/1 chance at Sandown.

Oli Bell highlights his Saturday picks

Oli Bell: Trust Mee

Oli Bell looks ahead to the feature races at Sandown and Aintree on Saturday, with As De Mee fancied over the Grand National fences.

Next Race Off

21:30 Gulfstream
5
(5)
Queen Nekia
J: Irad Ortiz Jr
3
(3)
Sammie Sunshine
J: Paco Lopez

Football Tips

The latest Sporting Life football Accumulator

Sporting Life Accumulator

We're back to a full fixture list this weekend meaning the latest Sporting Life Accumulator involves four teams from across the divisions.

The Manchester derby is one of Saturday's games

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with Tom Carnduff providing his best bets and score predictions for each clash.

Our best bets in the Sky Bet EFL

Sky Bet EFL: Weekend preview

We're back to a full round of fixtures following the FA Cup weekend. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets in the Sky Bet EFL.