Boxing

Anthony Joshua urges young people to reject street violence

The heavyweight boxing champion tells Sky News he hopes his success will inspire the next generation to overcome adversity.

Anthony Joshua has appealed to young people to cut street violence, saying he wants “no trouble, no issues in 2020”.

In an interview with Sky News, the world heavyweight boxing champion said he wanted the subject to be “trending”.

There have been “a lot of issues on the streets and stuff with a lot of kids” during 2019, Joshua said.

Displaying his four world championship belts, he said he wanted to bring them back to Britain to show young people that “through adversity and hard times, you can break the mould”.

He added: “You don’t have to have anything special. I just had a pair of trainers and shorts, and we’ve taken it to the world.

“And I feel like the next generation can do it better than us, so I hope they’re inspired.”

Anthony Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr to reclaim his titles

Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr on a unanimous points decision in their world heavyweight title rematch in Saudi Arabia on 7 December.

The British fighter reclaimed the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts he lost to his Mexican-American opponent in New York in June.

Asked about racism in sport, and whether he had experienced discrimination, he said no, adding: “I think they’re too scared.”

Racist attitudes were about “a lack of education”, he said, adding that what he liked about boxing was that “different religions, different races, different cultures (are) all in one room”.

He was also asked about “sport washing” – when countries use sport to improve their reputations.

There are concerns about human rights in Saudi Arabia, where women make up only about 5% of the workforce.

Joshua said he did not know much about the country before agreeing to fight there, but had since done some research.

Travelling to Saudi was a way of helping it to change, he said.

“You have to get in Saudi Arabia, (and get) involved,” he added.

He met the county’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who said that staging the fight was about showing the efforts he was making towards greater equality.

Joshua said it “wasn’t as bad as I thought when I heard about all the issues going on there – previously actually, because they’re making a positive change”.

Anthony Joshua urges young people to reject street violence
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