Court case made Anthony Joshua focus on ’15-year prison sentence to boxing’

Anthony Joshua begged for a second chance before in his life – now he is hoping to take this second chance in the ring.

He simply has to take the opportunity of revenge against Andy Ruiz Jnr just like how he turned his life around before boxing.

Joshua’s past is well documented from being on remand in Reading to facing drug possession charges when a promising GB Boxing amateur star.

As he stared down a life of trouble on the streets, boxing sent him on a path that led him becoming a national hero.

But the nature of sport means nothing can be predicted not even when he was heavy favourite to beat Ruiz Jnr in New York on June 1.

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Now boxing has given him another second chances as he faces the Mexican-American to get the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles back.

“So when I went into boxing, I was getting into a lot of trouble, a major court case, I beat the court case, and I prayed ‘God, if you give me a second chance at life I will make all the changes in the world’,” he said.

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“When I beat that court case, I got into boxing and I focussed. Same thing with Ruiz, give me a second chance and see what I can do.

“When I had that second chance at life when I was getting in trouble, I just dedicated myself.

“I said I would put myself on a 15-year prison sentence to boxing and have that focus.”

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Joshua has seemed more focused this time around after the first defeat of his career.

He arrived in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabia capital which will stage a world heavyweight title for the first time, 10 days ago to finish his preparations and acclimatise.

This is a new territory for boxing but also a new situation for Joshua and not just in terms of the location.

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The Watford warrior has been a national icon since he won super-heavyweight gold at London 2012.

And while there was pressure on his shoulders as British boxing’s biggest name collecting world honours in the pro ranks, he has never had to face harsh criticism.

"Not everyone's going to love you, and that's just how it goes, but I've lost before (in the amateurs), I've lost a few times and I just keep on going,” said Joshua.

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“One loss can't strip your skin off overnight, when you put your solid foundations in, one chip in the brick can't destroy the whole building.”

Joshua says he has re-watched the Ruiz Jnr defeat many times since that night at Madison Square Garden when he was floored four times before being stopped in the seventh round.

But he feels he is still a work in progress and cites the development of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as a closer image of him than someone naturally gifted like Vasyl Lomachenko.

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“I am getting better all the time,” he added.

“You have someone like Lomachenko, who is great but then you have have some fighters who get better with every fight, like Canelo who improves with every fight, and that is what I am.”

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