Anthony Joshua has mused on leaving the sport without serious damage ahead of a potential fight with American knockout artist, Deontay Wilder.
‘AJ’ rose to superstardom double quick, turning pro after Olympic Gold to blast through the division and become a unified champion that could regularly fill out arenas and stadiums.
His career has stalled recently, with two losses to Oleksandr Usyk leaving him outside of the title picture for the first time in a long time. At 33-years-old, his goal is to become world champion again before hanging up the gloves.
Boxing though, isn’t the be all and end all. Speaking to Mens Health, Joshua said that the most important thing to him when all’s said and done is retiring with his faculties intact.
“In boxing, people walk in the gym one way and not many walk out the same way, because of the trauma and the stuff they put their body through. I want my legacy to be, I walked out healthy.”
Imagine me at the age of 50 or 60 in a wheelchair – fragile because of the trauma I put my body through. My legacy should be when I’m old, I’m still fresh.
I want people to say, ‘Oh wow, he still looks good, he still looks after himself.’ That’s a legacy.”
It’s not the first time the heavyweight has aired such feelings.
After the biggest night of his career – a title win over long-reigning champion, Wladimir Klitschko, in London – Joshua was openly keen not to get into a back and forth war like that again.
It’s a sentiment that many fans agree with, having seen some of their favourite fighters either injured in the ring or deteriorate rapidly outside of it.
His latest thoughts on the matter come around the same time that The Guardian published an article floating the idea of retirement for the two-time world champ, arguing that his health was paramount at this stage of his boxing career.
It was met with anger from ‘AJ’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, who told Boxing Social that the journalist, Thomas Hauser, was ‘detached from reality’ and that the piece was ‘disgusting.’
Joshua is close to signing a deal to face Wilder in December in the Middle East. A fight in the interim is still on the table, with no opponent currently mentioned.