Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Anthony Joshua turned his life around to become a two-time unified heavyweight world champion following a couple of run-ins with the law as a youngster.

In his late teens/early 20s, AJ found himself in trouble on two notable occasions.

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Joshua was a world away from the champion he is today

The first saw him arrested for what he described as, ‘fighting and other crazy stuff.’

He was charged and placed on remand in Reading Prison for two weeks.

Speaking on Apple Music’s Song’s For Life, Joshua said: “A couple of weeks, nothing major.

“I’d been charged, so it’s what we call remand, so they’re holding you in a secure location so obviously you can’t have an influence on any of the case and you can’t go and see certain people.

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Joshua is the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion of the world

“I remember this little kid – well, not kid, people my age – that were hype.

“You know that one kid that’s at the back just shouting, we’re just trying to chill, this is our time out of the cell.

“And then I looked back and he was like, ‘What are you looking at?’

“I’m like, ‘Who are you talking to?’

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

A teenage AJ

“And also, because I didn’t have none of my stuff, I remember having to use butter on my lips because my lips were chapped.

“I don’t have no cream and I don’t know no-one, so I’ve gotta use butter.

“But when I got bail, that’s when I started learning how to box and lift weights.

“Because I thought, ‘If I’m gonna do a long sentence and I’ve got these little idiot kids in the jail, then I’m gonna come in there and I’m gonna back myself.’

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Joshua boxed perfectly for 12 rounds to regain his world titles from Andy Ruiz in December

“So I started pumping weights, me and my cousin… I signed up to one of these hard man gyms.

“Because I was on tag – obviously I’m out on bail conditions so I’ve got the tag on my leg – so I have to be home at 8pm every day.

“I was in a strict routine at a time when I was only 17/18.

“And I think that’s what helped me with my boxing. When I came off of tag, I was already in a position where I was ready to take off with boxing.

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

AJ started boxing after getting out

“I just had to kind of, whatever work the devil had for me, I had to block it out and stay focused on a righteous path.

“That’s still a battle today, but I know how to manage it.”

At this point though, Joshua was not ready to go completely straight.

He made impressive strives with his boxing career and progressed into the Team GB Olympic squad.

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Joshua represented Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics

However, Police pulled over his Mercedes-Benz in 2011 and he was arrested again when they found a sizeable amount of cannabis hidden in his sports bag.

AJ recalled: “I was boxing for the Olympic team, for Great Britain, this is a year before the Olympics.

“At this stage, I was earning about £500 a month. I had seen more money than that before anyway so it wasn’t stuff that could keep me away from ‘opportunities’ that came my way at that stage in my life.

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

AJ won Olympic gold

“It was a notorious estate as well, Grahame Park estate, a big estate in north west London.

“I’m in my Team GB tracksuit, I’m a young boxer, I was driving a Mercedes at the time as well, cruising through the estate.

“And then undercover police, there were three officers, two of them were cool, but there’s always that one officer that’s like, ‘Whatever this guy’s talking about, he’s lying, I know he’s up to something.’

“He said, ‘Your car smells a bit.’

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Joshua’s car drew attention on his estate

“I’m like yeah, ‘My uncle’s a rasta, and they smoke weed, I just dropped him off at the station. I hate it, I’m trying to focus on the Olympics.’

“He’s like, ‘Yeah I know what you mean, man, you’ve gotta stay focused.’

“I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll be on my way.’

“Then I just see the guy come up with a big bag like, ‘What is this?’

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

Joshua has turned his life around

“I thought, ‘Should I run?’ Normally that’s the case.

“But my whip was there, my phone, I was obviously part of the Olympic team.

“So I just dealt with it like a man.

“Got charged with nine ounces, so, personal use, or whatever you wanna call it.”

Joshua speaks openly about time in prison on remand and learning from tough lessons

He carried out his community service

Joshua was charged with possession with intent to supply a class B drug and submitted a guilty plea.

This allowed him to escape with a non-custodial sentence of 100 hours of unpaid work and a 12-month community order.

He concluded: “I done my community service, I got banned from the Olympic team though, which was a tough time.

“I learned how to get smarter, I changed my car, too flash, and that’s why I think now as a boxer I know how to keep low key.

“I learned the art of bouncing back, most important.”

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