ANTHONY JOSHUA, the Olympic gold medallist and reigning IBF heavyweight world champion, has paid tribute to Muhammad Ali, who died on Saturday aged 74.
“Ali was a legend of our sport. He changed boxing forever,” Joshua tells today’s edition of ES Magazine.
“For me as a kid he inspired me to represent myself like a champion in and out of the ring. I never got the chance to meet him,” he continued but adds, “his legacy will live on.”
Joshua does reveal a touch of ambivalence about the harsher aspects of the sport. “My coach makes me understand how dangerous this sport is. I try not to think about it. I want to knock my next opponent out, I definitely want him down. But I walk around and people are shouting, ‘AJ knock him out! Knock him out!’ And it’s weird. Imagine people applauding you for committing a crime. It’s like that for me. You really don’t think about the crime until you get caught. If anything ever happened to one of my opponents after I hit them and I caused them injury, I would realise what a serious business this is,” he said.
The full interview appears in this week’s issue of ES Magazine, out today