Search icon


06th May 2017

Mike Tyson foresees end of Anthony Joshua’s “nice guy” persona

Is 'AJ' set for the dark side?

Darragh Murphy

Anthony Joshua has definitely played the babyface role up to now in his professional career.

Prior to his clash with fellow likeable heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko in Wembley, Joshua relied heavily on his opponents to act as heels in order to sell fights while the London 2012 gold medallist built a solid pro record.

But one fighter who had absolutely no problem in playing the role of villain, Mike Tyson, expects Joshua’s persona to change now that he’s reached a whole new level of fame.

“He’s a nice guy but he’s got to stop being a nice guy soon,” Tyson told ESPN. “It’s hard to stay that way, believe me. People are going to irritate him and he’s going to end up saying things he didn’t know he was capable of saying on television! That’s what happens.”

It seems difficult now to visualise the typically affable ‘AJ’ losing the run of himself but that has been known to happen to several fighters over the years.

So many competitors can relate to The Notorious B.I.G. classic Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems as the added fortune and unfamiliar feeling of invincibility so often results in fighters finding themselves in hot water.

And while it’s possible that Joshua becomes slightly less good-natured as the years go by, it’s also very likely that ‘AJ’ stays faithful to the personality that has seen him rise through the heavyweight ranks at breakneck speed and put away a legend in Klitschko.

“It was a great fight,” Tyson said of Joshua’s victory last weekend. “I had actually picked Klitschko to win as I thought this was just some jumped-up young guy from England. But man he fought well. Klitschko is 41 and no-one has ever done that to him.

“Importantly, he showed heart. He took a big punch from Klitschko and went down but he got back up. He showed real intestinal fortitude. He’s consistent, persistent and he didn’t give up. There’s no quitting in him. I love that he goes out there to hurt his opponent, too. That’s what boxing is all about but most fighters just don’t have that hunger.

“Joshua is still just a baby with 19 fights, it took me 28 fights to become world champion. But who cares, he’s the champ. The sky is the limit for him now and he is going to dominate the division and make so much money if he just keeps on doing what he’s doing.”