Anthony Joshua has candidly opened up on the lows of his boxing career, and his grapples with if he should walk away from the sport.
In a BBC interview with journalist Louis Theroux, the two-time heavyweight world champion had his psyche dived into before and after his comeback win over Jermaine Franklin.
Never before seen footage showed just how down AJ was after he failed to land a knockout in that bout, and focused on his biggest career low yet, a second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in 2022.
That re-match dethroned the British megastar, and his reaction afterwards left his reputation in tatters.
Joshua threw Usyk’s belts out of the ring post-fight, and took the microphone to speak to the crowd in scenes that were a painful watch.
Discussing the night in Saudi Arabia in August last year, Joshua’s emotions were clearly still raw when Theroux brought up the moment with the belts.
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“Oh yeah that part,” AJ said. “It was like, ‘these don’t mean anything anyway, he got them and because I didn’t get them they don’t mean anything’. It was ego and pride coming out.
“It was like, ‘I brought this heavyweight division back’ that’s what was in me, right or wrong.”
When Theroux interjected to tell Joshua it was wrong, he showed a rare moment of irritation with the iconic interviewer.
“You asked me a question and I’m answering it,” the 34-year-old said. “I’ve thrown them because that’s how I felt, I grabbed the mic and addressed the crowd.
“Could I have done it better? Of course I could’ve, but I’d just finished a 12-round fight and I felt frustrated and annoyed, I knew I was out of the title race.
“And then the questions started. ‘What is he like?’ ‘Where’s his head at?’ all this, ‘can he be three-time champion of the world?’
“People create this narrative and put pressure on me. It’s too much.
“Gone are the days when it was fun, when you’re just doing it for the passion, you’re a prospect.”
The word pressure was a recurring theme for AJ, who repeatedly mentioned how it’s making him question if he wants to continue boxing.
“Do you know what? I really do [enjoy boxing].” he said. “But can I be bothered with all the bull**** that comes with it? It turns me off massively.
“I just realised that it’s not all so important, you put so much pressure on yourself to come and be this big star and be perfect, and I’m telling you they’ll pull you down.
“The higher you are the bigger the drop, so that’s why I try not to put too much pressure on myself, because that pressure drives you away from your core values.
“I just want to be normal, I don’t want to put myself under pressure.”
Theroux then put Joshua’s comments on money to him, and cited ex-professionals that have said he should stop fighting if that’s his only motivation.
“Sometimes it leaves me speechless,” AJ said visibly baffled. “Every little thing I say are we going to dissect it? To make a narrative, to create a story?”
Then came the big moment of the interview, with Joshua indicating he does think about stepping away from the ring.
“From where I began to going on to achieving, it’s never enough. ‘Will he ever be three-time champion of the world?’ It’s just too much,” he said.
“Maybe I should stop if I can’t deal with it.”