Sean Murphy Took Anthony Joshua From the Streets to Become a World Champion

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Anthony Joshua could have probably not have been the world star he is today were it not for a man named Sean about to go to war in the biggest fight of his career, but his first boxing coach remembers how the two-belt heavyweight champion could have gone down a very different path

Sean Murphy
met Joshua when he was an 18-year-old who wandered into his gym, Finchley ABC,
with his cousin, who wanted to keep a young AJ out of trouble. At that time,
Joshua had only once before been in a boxing gym and had left after a few

‘He came in
the gym with one of his cousins, Ben Ileyemi,’ Murphy
averred. ‘I think he was getting into a little bit of bother on the
streets, like fighting and that.

‘His cousin
Ben wanted him to focus on something positive, so he brought him to the boxing.
He came, and I think he just fell in love with it.’

ten years and Joshua holds the IBF and WBA (Super) world titles and is on the
verge of collecting a third, should he beat Joseph Parker in Cardiff on Saturday.

Joshua is
undefeated after 20 fights with 20 knockouts, and only once has he entered the
ring as an underdog. This weekend, he is expected to not only beat WBO champion
Parker, but become the first man to stop the Kiwi.

But, Murphy
admits he never dreamed the young man he welcomed into his gym over a decade
ago would become the champion he is today.
‘I would never ever have dreamt he would get to where he is today,’ he said.

‘I’ve had it
in my gym where kids go the other way. I had a boy who was boxing with me and
he won a few national titles. He’s locked up in prison now doing a six-year
stretch. ‘He’s into heroine and cocaine. It’s not all fairytale endings for
some people.’

And Joshua
almost did go down the same path. In 2011 he was caught with marijuana in his
car and was charged with cannabis possession. It was a minor charge, but Joshua
had been called to join Team GB’s Olympic boxing squad the previous year and
his dream of representing his country at London 2012 hung in the balance.

The charge
and subsequent conviction could have stopped Joshua’s budding boxing career in
its tracks.

Africh Royale

Africh Royale

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