Things you didn’t know about Anthony Joshua family son wife girlfriend cousin ben ileyema finchley amateur career coach rob mccracken facts unknown rare africa

Things you didn’t know about Anthony Joshua

Published On Friday, January 22, 2021By Tim Rickson
Related Tags: Anthony Joshua

Who is Anthony Joshua? Facts you need to know about AJ below

The Ultimate Anthony Joshua Fact File!

Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22KOs) is the most recognised star in the UK and one of the most famous sportsmen in the world, but BBN have found out some little-known facts about the formidable two-time world heavyweight champion that you may not already know:



Early Life

Born Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua on October 15, 1989, in Watford, Hertfordshire, he is currently 31 years old, and has three siblings – Jacob; Janet; Loretta. His sister Janet is a hairdresser and owns her own salon. His family and close friends all call him 'Femi', an abbreviation of his middle name.


African Roots

Part of Anthony’s childhood was spent in Africa with his parents. His mother, Yeta Odusanya, is Nigerian, and his father, Robert Joshua, is part Nigerian and part Irish.

Whilst living in Nigeria, he went to the Mayflower boarding school in Ikene, named after the historical Mayflower ship that brought the first pilgrims to America. The school, noted for its high academic achievement, was founded in 1956 by Nigerian teacher, humanist, and civil rights pioneer Dr. Tai Solarin, who was married to an English woman, Shiela Mary Tuer.

His paternal grandparents are Isaac Joshua, whose name he carries today, and Moya V. Harper. It’s his maternal grandparents James A. Odusanya and Olufunmilayo Solanke who have ties to the Yoruba people, who speak their own Yoruba language all across Western Africa.


Take Me Back to London

When his parents divorced, aged 12, during Year 7, he moved back to England with his mother. He joined Kings Langley Secondary School, situated within a mile of Junction 20 on the M25, a short walk from Kings Langley train station.

He excelled in sports and athletics at school, breaking the Year 9 100 metres record with a time of 11.6 seconds.


Joshua from the Block

He grew up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshire, which is well known for its persistent problems with crime and drugs. It is prolific in criminal activity and is widely regarded as the most dangerous place in the area. It was these tough surroundings that got him into fights and trouble as a teenager.

As a Watford man, he naturally supports Watford FC and is good friends with former captain Troy Deeney. He’s also a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.


Tools of the Trade

Before becoming a paid puncher, AJ worked on various construction sites as a bricklayer.


Prison Break

In 2009, aged 20, a wayward AJ spent two weeks on remand in Reading Prison for what he describes as “fighting and other crazy stuff”. Fortunately for him, he was spared any further jail time, instead receiving a year’s house arrest sentence and made to wear an electronic tag on his ankle.

In March 2011, he was pulled over by police for speeding in Colindale, North London, and found in possession of eight ounces of cannabis hidden in a sports bag in his Mercedes Benz. He was charged with intent to supply Class B drugs and was suspended from the Team GB Boxing squad, sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty at crown court.


Finchley ABC

His first ever boxing coach was Sean Murphy of Finchley ABC, who remains a close friend. He has flown Sean, a builder by trade, to New York to watch him fight and also treated him to a brand-new BMW worth £95k in 2017.

Another coach from the gym, which Joshua still frequents regularly, fell very ill so he paid for him to have the best treatment available in Harley Street.

It’s not just the coaches who receive rewards but the young aspiring amateurs too. The entire gym has also been fully kitted out in new punch bags and equipment by the former student. For his Klitschko fight at Wembley Stadium, he allocated over 40 tickets to the club. All the kids were sat up in the Royal Box to watch their most famous member fight.


Amateur Career

Anthony is rumoured to have had an amateur record of 48-3, 18 KOs, but without walkovers (byes) it was more likely to be 40-3, 18KOs.

Some of his amateur opponents included: Brit boxer Amin Isa; German Eric Brechlin, who lost to Oleksandr Usyk in the World Series Boxing; Irish national champion Cathal McMonagle; Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tariq Abdul Haqq; Mexican WSB representative Juan Hiracheta; 2008 Olympic gold medallist and two-time World amateur champion Roberto Cammarelle; reigning WBO European heavyweight champion Erik Pfeifer, unbeaten in seven pro bouts; 200-fight veteran and multiple Cuban national champion Erislandy Savon; Olympic bronze medallist Ivan Dychko; China’s Zhang Zhilei, who is now 22-0 as a pro.

His three conquerors in a vest were Mihai Nistor; Magomedrasul Majidov; and Dillian Whyte, who defeated Joshua in his amateur debut in that infamous footage that can be found online.


Keeping it in the Family

His cousin, Ben Ileyemi, is also a professional boxer. It was Ben who introduced his cousin to boxing by taking him to Finchley ABC all those years ago, when he was bodybuilding at home on his bench press!

They made their pro debuts together on October 5, 2013, at the O2 Arena, both winning by TKO. Joshua defeated Emanuele Leo (8-0) in round one of their six-round heavyweight bout, and Ileyemi stopped Latvian Stanislavs Makarenko (2-4-1) in the second round of their four-round cruiserweight contest.

Now 33, Ben had all three of his pro bouts in October, November and December 2013, winning the first two, drawing the last, but hasn’t fought since.


Mummy’s Boy

The boxer is very close to his mother and, after his heroics in the London 2012 Olympics, he bought their two-bed council estate house in Golders Green that they were living in for £175k for her.

He is also very close to his father, Robert, too, and spends as much time with his entire family as possible. During lockdown, he has been living with his mum, son, cousin and niece.


Daddy Cool

Joshua is a father to his five-year-old son, Joseph, born in October 2015. The mother is dance teacher and yoga instructor, Nicole Osbourne. Known as ‘JJ’, his full name is Joseph Bayley Temiloluwa Prince Joshua.

Although they are not together anymore, he bought Nicole a £500k penthouse in Finchley, North London. He is a doting dad, often sharing images of his son on his social media platforms. He is quite adamant that he doesn’t wish for his son to follow in his footsteps in boxing.


Flying High

Team Joshua often fly in style via a private jet loaned to AJ by his long-term sponsors Under Armour. He has also been gifted luxury cars by another sponsor, Jaguar Land Rover. Other sponsors include Lynx, Lucozade and Beats by Dre.


Team AJ

AJ is trained by Robert McCracken; managed by Freddie Cunningham; promoted by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. He has established his own management company - 258 Management.



Joshua has three tattoos – the word ‘Wisdom’ on his right arm; an outline of Africa with Nigeria highlighted on his right shoulder; and a British lion on the back of his neck.


The Queen’s Gambit

Lennox Lewis introduced to AJ to chess and he remains a keen player still. He has compared his profession of boxing to chess, stating that it’s all about being two moves ahead of your opponent at all times.


King Joshua

After conquering the world as an amateur, Joshua replicated his reign in the pro ranks. He first became world heavyweight champion in his 16th fight against Charles Martin in April 2016. He defended that IBF title twice before his epic battle with Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in 2017, where he claimed the WBA ‘Super’ and IBO world titles to become a unified champ for the first time in his career.

It was March 2018 when he added the WBO belt by defeating Joseph Parker, who was the first opponent to take him the full distance in a fight. He defended all four of those titles to Alexander Povetkin, but lost them in his next fight to unheralded but very talented Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019, which was his first loss in almost eight years and first defeat as a pro.

He bounced back in style to win all of his marbles back six months later, outpointing an out of shape, unfit Ruiz Jr over 12-rounds in an historical night in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

One year and five days later, AJ defended the hoard to IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, with a ninth-round knockout.



After 25 fights, aged 31, AJ has clocked up 112 rounds, on average only having to go four and a half rounds in each fight. At 6ft 6” and an 82” reach, the Watford warrior is Britain’s ninth ever world heavyweight champion, following Bob Fitzsimmons; Lennox Lewis; Michael Bentt; Herbie Hide; Frank Bruno; Henry Akinwande; David Haye; Tyson Fury.

He became only the second Brit in history to win both an Olympic gold medal and a professional world title, following in the footsteps of fellow Londoner James DeGale.


Joshua vs Fury

Both Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are in their second reigns as world heavyweight champions. If the Brits meet in the ring, which is intended for 2021, it will produce the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis achieved the incredible feat in 1999. Either man could become only the second Brit in heavyweight boxing history to be crowned undisputed.


Roll of Honour

Haringey Box Cup 2009 gold medallist
Senior ABA 2009 Novice Champion
Haringey Box Cup 2010 gold medallist
GB Championships 2010 gold medallist
Senior ABA 2010 Elite Champion
Senior ABA Elite 2011 Champion
2011 European Championships Quarter-finalist
2011 Baku World Championships silver medallist
2011 Boxing Writers Club ‘Amateur Boxer of the Year’
London 2012 Olympic gold medallist
2012 Boxing Writers Club ‘Amateur Boxer of the Year’


2014 – WBC International heavyweight title
2015 – Commonwealth heavyweight title
2015 – British heavyweight title
2016 – IBF world heavyweight title
2017 – WBA world heavyweight title
2017 – IBO world heavyweight title
2018 – WBO world heavyweight title
2019 – WBA world heavyweight title
2019 – IBF world heavyweight title
2019 – WBO world heavyweight title
2019 – IBO world heavyweight title


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