Joshua, a former two-time world heavyweight champion, is the subject of the 7 November episode of Louis Theroux Interviews, in which “AJ” discusses his upbringing, boxing career and future plans.
In one emotional segment of the episode, Theroux asks Joshua about his second successive loss to Oleksandr Usyk, who took the unified heavyweight belts from the 34-year-old in 2021 before beating AJ again in 2022. After that second defeat, Joshua seized a microphone and ranted at the crowd in Saudi Arabia, while also throwing Usyk’s titles out of the ring.
“It was like, ‘These don’t even mean anything anyway. What? I ain’t got them, so they don’t mean anything.’ That was the ego and pride coming out,” Joshua tells Theroux in the latest episode of the BBC programme. “‘I brought this heavyweight division back.’
“Right or wrong...” Joshua continues, before Theroux interjects: “Probably wrong, probably wrong. I don’t think anyone says it was the right thing to do.”
Joshua replies: “You asked me a question, yeah? You asked me a question and I’m answering it. Could I have done it better? Of course I could have.
“I felt frustrated and annoyed, I knew I was out of the title race, and then the questions started: ‘What is he like? Where’s his head at? Can he be three-time champion of the world?’
“People now create this narrative and put pressure on me. It’s, like, too much. Gone are the days when it was for fun, when you’re just doing it for the passion, [when] you’re a prospect.”
Theroux then says to an emotional-sounding Joshua, “Let’s have a cup of tea. Are you alright?” to which the boxer replies: “Yeah, I’m feeling good, come to the kitchen.”
Later in the episode, the pair return to the subject, with Joshua saying: “Yeah, [money] plays a part, but I’m passionate. This is all I know, this is what I dedicate my life to.
“Do I want to get myself to the championship? I would love to. Am I gonna be smart in how I get there? Yeah. Do I know a lot more about boxing than I used to? A hundred per cent. Am I still trying to improve as a boxer? Yeah. ‘How come he doesn’t fight with the same passion that he used to?’ Because I’m a better boxer than I was then.”
Louis Theroux Interviews: Anthony Joshua airs on BBC Two on Tuesday 7 November, starting at 9pm GMT.