As a celebrity sports speaker/keynote speaker, Britain’s reigning world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua has a genuine presence that commands immediate respect. Born in Watford in 1989 of Nigerian descent, AJ stands six foot six inches or 1.98m tall. His huge, well-muscled arms reach 82 inches or 208cm from his broad powerful shoulders. That warm and courteous smile cannot conceal the fact that he is truly someone to be reckoned with.
Anthony Oluwafemi Oluseni Joshua spent some of his early years at boarding school in Nigeria, but his parents’ divorce heralded a return to his roots in Hertfordshire. Popular at his secondary school, where he was nicknamed “Femi” after his middle name, he excelled at sports, particularly football, and athletics.
He was a late starter in boxing – aged 18 before he took up the sport. There were one or two scrapes with the law in his early days when he was also working as a bricklayer. But it wasn’t long before people were beginning to notice the arrival of this phenomenon in British amateur ranks. In 2010, he turned down £50,000 to turn professional. It was an easy decision, he says. “I didn’t take up the sport for money, I want to win medals.” It proved a prescient move. Just around the corner were the London 2012 Olympics, where he battled through to win gold in the super-heavyweight division, and by doing so became a national icon.
Now it was time for the professional game, and what a career it’s been. He holds four world title belts. His victory over the seemingly-impregnable Vladimir Klitschko was watched by millions round the world. He comprehensively avenged his one defeat, against Mexico’s Andy Ruiz. And his as yet unresolved rivalry with Britain’s other heavyweight boxing champion, Tyson Fury, remains one of sport’s most compelling stories.
AJ is an explosive competitor in the ring. Outside it, he has been voted the world’s most marketable sportsman. Above all he is a person of rare eloquence and insight, whose perspective would make your event both rich and unforgettable, hiring him as a keynote speaker.
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