Anthony Joshua has cheekily compared himself to a young Virgil van Dijk when asked if he could’ve made it as a top footballer.
The heavyweight champ was a towering defender in his teens and “could have made it” all the way to the Premier League if he’d chosen football over boxing. At least according to his long-time friend and camp manager David Ghansa (admittedly not an unbiased source).
SPORTbible asked AJ whether he really could have been an elite footballer, pointing out he came to boxing comparatively late but still rose to the pinnacle of the sport. Why should football be any different?
“Look, you might not have ever known about Virgil van Dijk or anyone,” replied a laughing Joshua, tongue firmly in cheek. “You’d have never heard about Chris Smalling if I’d have carried on my football days.
“Actually, I wasn’t a bad defender at the back! But I didn’t take it seriously.
“I like boxing, it’s an individual sport. And I just like to challenge myself. With football sometimes, I felt like I could depend on the other 10 players on the pitch to a certain degree.
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“Whereas boxing, you know what? You can’t even depend on your coaches. It’s just you. It’s you, alone in the ring, no one wants to win more than that one person. That’s why I love boxing.”
AJ was speaking to SPORTbible via Zoom for the launch of #JDChampsHonours List, his campaign that celebrates people who made a big difference in 2020.