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Boxing

Anthony Joshua bravely opens up about mental health battles

Max Sherry

Published 
| Last updated 

Anthony Joshua bravely opens up about mental health battles

Anthony Joshua has bravely opened up about his mental health struggles since his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in August.

There has been talks that AJ could return to the ring as early as December, but the former heavyweight champion admits that looks unlikely with his team advising him to take some time off.

Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO world titles back in September 2021, suffering a damning loss at the fists of Usyk.

And in their rematch 11 months later, the Brit showed vast improvements but was unable to capture his belts back.

After back-to-back defeats to the same rival, the stressful toll on AJ's body and mind was laid bare as he let his emotions get the better of him.

From breaking down in tears during the press conference to throwing a couple of Usyk's belts out of the ring, it was clear to see that AJ wasn't thinking straight.

Even just a month later, the 33-year-old was engaging in talks with Tyson Fury about a potential super-fight – only for negotiations to break down, much to everyone's disappointment.

Now the man himself has shed some light on his mental state, admitting his family has urged him to take an extended break, meaning he probably won't be fighting again till next year.

“You saw after my last fight, I swear it tore me apart,” Joshua told DAZN.

“I had so much riding on it, for me, the British fans, the undisputed fight.

“It just really tore me apart so, from a mental capacity, my close ones are telling me to rest, mentally.

“Physically I am down to ride, I am a warrior, I like this game and I like competing.

“But, from a mental aspect, I think people have really seen it means a lot.”

He added: “Even if I am not fighting, my name is getting called out every day so it’s a mental pressure of being AJ and holding up a reputation, they go hand-in-hand.

“Trying to do this thing - and do it properly - is tough. Boxers are rough and tough but this boxing is a lot of mental pressure.

“I won’t know how I will feel until I am back in there. But the best feeling, that will be good for me, is winning.

“That feeling of losing is not nice. Now I know why my son gets so angry when he loses at anything. I never understood it before.

“Regardless of the belts, the feeling of winning will be amazing again, internally.”

The back-and-forth online between AJ and Fury had boxing fans salivating.

But, as has been the case before, perhaps the biggest boxing match in British history never eventuated with both parties not not signing on the dotted line.

“I love doing business, good business and good contracts,” AJ said.

“All that social media stuff is just time-consuming.

"My dance partner, the last geezer I was supposed to fight (Fury), he's a good dance partner.

"He handles the social media side. I think we'd do good business behind the scenes.

“It will happen, we’re in the same era.

“Just as two competitors, two fighters. He's definitely someone that's a fighting man.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia, Boxing, Anthony Joshua

Max Sherry
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