ANTHONY JOSHUA looks like the perfect physical specimen to be a heavyweight world champion but he has the brain to match the muscles.
The 31-year-old’s chief physio Rob Madden has worked with the Watford icon throughout his brilliant rise, brief fall, comeback and constant evolution.
And he has broken down for SunSport the five essential traits that make the WBA, IBF and WBO boxing champion the perfect fighting machine.
THERE is an energy that AJ gives off when he walks into a room that just lifts everybody.
When you are training hard, exhausted, maybe injured, or even nervous, that energy can be so advantageous, it can change everything.
And it’s something he probably isn’t even aware of or works on but he has this ability to lift everyone around him — whether that’s us members of the team, his training partners, even his sparring partners.
After the Andy Ruiz Jr loss we were all so low and shocked and he just walked in and lifted us all up. He told us to get our chins up and get back on the job.
To take your first loss like that and then come in and lift everyone else was awesome.
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AJ’s genetics are phenomenal and that makes for incredible raw strength and power.
I am relatively young but I know that I will never meet anyone like him in the rest of my career. He is a one-off.
There have been times where he has been injured so he hasn’t been able to do much boxing training or lifting and he still somehow stays in great nick.
That is something that is very specific to him. It’s very pure and it’s absolutely devastating when we see it in the ring.
ANT’S discipline to training and, almost even more importantly, life is incredible.
He always turns up, to training, to fights, to media events, he never lets us down.
Since the day he turned pro, he has had his eye on the prize and he has always been focused.
That has to be one of his greatest strengths.
HIS cardiovascular capacity and engine is underrated.
AJ does a lot of work on that in the gym with his boxing and on the bike.
There has been some criticism of AJ’s engine but we know how powerful his lungs are. He’s phenomenal and has worked so hard on it.
One thing we do have to work on is maximising AJ’s rest — because he naturally doesn’t want to do it.
If he’s not sparring he wants to be on the bag, or the pads, or the exercise bike, looking for improvement.
But we understand now that to push to his maximums, or hit personal bests, he needs to be fully and properly rested beforehand.
IT isn’t OCD or anything negative but it is an obsession with improvement and growth.
Certainly in the second half of AJ’s career I have noticed how he is obsessed with finding the edge or any way to improve.
He is now so obsessed with boxing, across all weights, if I am at his house then there is constantly boxing on the TV or the laptop.
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It might be the flyweights from the previous weekend or a grainy middleweight fight from the 1950s.
He loves the sport and it has become an obsession that has made him a better athlete every year.
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