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Stuff meets Anthony Joshua to talk motivation, strength and winter running

The heavyweight boxer on motivation, defeat and powering up his running

We heard from heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua about his latest Under Armour campaign as well as how he kept himself motivated after his last defeat. He also took us through how and why he keeps running.

As I only fight once or twice a year, I have to stay busy and active in the gyms.

But because I took a loss in my last fight, there’s been a lot of reconstruction happening in my team. So I’ve approached training with more of a mental approach, looking at ways

I can improve rather than just jumping back in the deep end from a physical point of view.

I’m not happy about what happened previously [losing to Oleksandr Usyk] because that’s a competitor’s mindset.

You have to be angry at losing; it’s not acceptable. So now it’s about driving forward. That’s why I love the Under Armour campaign quote: ‘The only way is through’. We watch the highlights and it’s good to show a lot of the wins, but I sometimes wonder why we don’t put losses in a highlights reel, because it’s what shapes me… and losing keeps me motivated, because I don’t want that to happen again.

Recovery starts from both physical and mental approaches.

Stretching is important, getting the body nimble again because you put your body through a lot
of stress. You start off with low-impact work: long walks are important, then jogs, going on a bike, swimming. After the loss, I had to give myself four or five days. I was doing a lot of recovery stuff like ice baths and cold showers, stretching and physio. Other people only see the fight, but in my case there’s years of training to lead up to that point. So it’s not just the fight but all that physical battering that I’ve got to recover from as well.

One thing people know about me is that I bounce back and I don’t take losses. I fight the best consistently – that’s always been a part of my DNA.

I’ve come up short twice, but the majority of times I have overcome many obstacles. Next fight I’m going to beat him and I’m going to take those belts from him [a rematch with Usyk is planned for the spring]. And I’m going to reign again to become three-time heavyweight champion of the world… whether people like it or not.

It’s always good to look back at reasons why relationships began, or why you committed to something or took a job.

Under Armour stood out, especially because of athlete development. And boxing is a sleeping giant. So because they work with me on the athlete development process I’ve been able to push myself in training, which obviously pushes results in the boxing ring – which has got me better fights too.

Running is an important part of training. It’s integral to the work that I do.

As a fighter, or as an athlete, or just someone who goes to the gym, you start off with cardio and whatnot, but then you move on to the leg machine, the StairMaster, the rowing machine. So with a boxer like me, we move off onto different things, but I think it’s always important to keep running. People were running hundreds of years before there were treadmills and rowing machines. And the minute you stop is the minute your body gets stiff and tired. So keep your body active by running.

Running also teaches you how to deal with stress.

It’s important to have people around you who are better than you in different areas. I have to bring people in to push me a little bit more with running, because it’s about getting your heart going, teaching you how to recover, but also overcoming stress. When you’re running at first, you go for a pleasurable run… then you hit a hill and it gets difficult, your footwear may be uncomfortable, and then you start having questions
in your head. But that’s where it teaches you how to overcome certain obstacles when you’re out on the road, because you know you’re not going to order a taxi to get back home to complete your run!