By Paul Mason
The Joshua Files by Matt Bozeat – Pitch Publishing – RRP £19.99
The Joshua Files, by regular Boxing News contributor Matt Bozeat, is a whistle-stopp tour charting Anthony Joshua’s rise from building site employee and early breakings of the law, to unified Heavyweight Champion of the World. The book covers Joshua’s early days, right up to his most recent contest with Joseph Parker in Cardiff in March. The Parker fight is included in the introduction section of the book, as the author decided to release the book after the Parker fight, just in case an unthinkable defeat occurred.
The introduction is designed to chart everything that happened in Joshua’s life up to his professional debut in October 2013, with the remainder of the book an opponent by opponent breakdown of Joshua’s professional tale so far.
The book is an insightful journey, beginning with Anthony’s parents separating when he was still young, and there was an intention that Joshua would move to his parents native Nigeria aged 12 or 13. Eventually, he would settle with his Auntie, but he left school and moved into his own room at a hostel, leading to his first brushes with the law. Trouble in Watford would seem to follow “AJ” around, and he had to relocate to London to move away from bad influences, as he was banned from the Watford district for a year. He moved back in with his mother in North London, where he would have an electronic tag fitted to his ankle as a result of his misdemeanours. He would be on tag for 13 months.
On the advice of his cousin, he joined Finchley and District Amateur Boxing Club, and the rest is now history. Joshua rose and rose within the amateur code, but this threatened to all fall apart in March 2011. Police discovered 8oz of cannabis in a sports bag that was in Joshua’s car. Joshua pleaded guilty to possession, but not guilty of intent to supply, and was passed down a 12 month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work included. Joshua would work his way back into the Great Britain setup by defending his ABA Title, and then, once his ban was lifted with Team GB, excelling at the European Championships after impressing coach Robert McCracken, who is now of course his head coach in the professional code. This of course culminated in the Gold Medal , the pinnacle of the amateur part of the sport, at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The clamour for his signature to turn professional was huge, and he rejected overtures to defend his Olympic Title to turn over with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom.
The book then follows each Joshua fight in the pro game, with insights from Boxing experts, the trainers and the opponents themselves, as well as the build up and outcome of each paid contest. Its a well researched and well informed account of his ascent to the top of his profession. Matt Bozeat’s writing is effortless, and is a really easy read, and although it is a gamble to write a book before a fighter’s career is finished. it still hits the mark.