ANTHONY JOSHUA’S dreams of becoming a Premier League footballer were dashed by his top-flight partying skills.
As a boy growing up in Watford, AJ was a talented footballer who could have signed schoolboy forms at a few London clubs.
But the lure of the capital’s nightspots was an even bigger draw, especially once the 6ft 6in hulk was hanging with an older crowd.
The unified heavyweight king has always credited the brutal sport with dragging him on to the straight and narrow.
And he explained to Apple Music how being able to hide in a 16-man squad – and fair the off injury – was always too easy for him
The 30-year-old said: “The problem with soccer or football was where it’s a team game.
“So I was 15, a couple of my friends are older than me started smoking and going out.
“Obviously they left school now so now they got an ID. They’re going clubbing. They’re telling me, “Yo, it’s lit. Trust me. This is where you need to be.”
“And,where football’s a team game, I could go out on a Friday night. And when I’m playing Saturday, “Ah, gaffer, my hamstring.” Sub, but you’re just really tired from the last night’s party antics.
“But with boxing, it’s individual so there was no hiding. And that’s when I had to give up all the distractions that I had in my life.
“So football was really important to me but it gave me too much window to slack. And I had substitutes, I had people I can call up on.
“With boxing, you don’t have that luxury. And that’s where it gave me that pinpoint focus that if I’m going to do this, I have to give everything I got.”