Anthony Joshua reveals feelings about son JJ fighting one day

Joshua is preparing to face Jermaine Franklin at London’s O2 Arena this Saturday

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Saturday 01 April 2023 09:27 BST
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Anthony Joshua has revealed the advice he would give to his seven-year-old son, if JJ were to box professionally one day – while stressing that he would never ‘force’ him into the sport.

Joshua is set to face Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, as the Briton seeks to bounce back from two straight decision defeats by Oleksandr Usyk.

While speaking to reporters ahead of the main-event contest, Joshua was asked about his son’s relationship with the former two-time champion’s career.

“Erm... He’s aware,” said Joshua, 33. “He’s seven, he’s gonna be eight this year, so he’s definitely aware. I don’t think he cares! That’s the thing: I don’t think he has an interest like that. He obviously knows boxing; him and his cousins, they box now and again.

“I don’t think he’s at that age where... It’s interesting, right: I always look out when I’m in camp, and I see people going about their business. Boxing is so important in our lives, but it’s not important in everybody’s lives.

“So, for JJ, it’s far from important.”

Joshua was then asked how he would feel about his son boxing professionally one day, to which he replied: “I think he’d have a good run at it, because of the experience I’ve got, so I’d be able to guide him. He’d have a headstart.

“But one thing I’d just tell him, if he was to do it – because it’s his decision, I wouldn’t force him to do it, I think it’s important to find it yourself... I’d just say: ‘Don’t compete with me, be your own individual. Anything I’ve done in boxing is not for you to match; it’s for you to kind of find your own reasons.’

“I wouldn’t want him to get into boxing and everyone to be asking him about his dad, like: ‘Are you gonna be like him?’ It’s too much pressure. That’s the advice I’d give him.

“He’s like me, though; when I lost, that’s how he is when he loses – we’re bad losers. Honestly he throws a big tantrum, but I like seeing that side of him, because it means he cares.”

Anthony Joshua (left) and opponent Jermaine Franklin at a press conference on Wednesday (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Anthony Joshua (left) and opponent Jermaine Franklin at a press conference on Wednesday (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Wire)

Joshua revealed that JJ has a greater interest in football than boxing, however.

“What it is with JJ, I think he’s more on the fun side,” Joshua said. “He’s got a mate that plays for West Ham, and [the family has] kind of pushed towards that direction. I haven’t really done that with JJ, I’m more like: ‘Just have fun and enjoy the process.’”

Joshua also suggested that his son will not be present at the O2 Arena on Saturday, as Joshua looks to get past American Franklin and take a step back towards a world-title fight.

“What I realised when I first started boxing is: Your family can read the newspaper and read something about you, and they’ll believe the newspaper rather than asking you direct,” Joshua said. “So, what I’ve done is, I’ve kind of separated work from family.

“So, JJ and them lot, I don’t think they feel like they need to come. I’ve never made it a priority, where it’s like: ‘My journey is their journey.’ This is just me, I just do this, so you guys live your life. I don’t cross them over.”

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