On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
On 1 June, 2019, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, 25–1 underdog Andy Ruiz Jr. walked into Madison Square Garden and knocked undefeated heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua off his feet. Several times.
The reigning champion managed to get back to his feet after each time, but after the last knock down, Joshua was clearly disoriented and unable to convincingly show that he was ok to go on. Referee Michael Griffin, having seen enough of the damage done, waved off the fight, handing Joshua his first loss in 24 fights.
The shock win for Ruiz instantly vaulted him into superstardom, and it wasn’t long before he was splashing over a $1 million on Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis to celebrate his victory. Meanwhile, Joshua was on a self-imposed lock down with the sole focus to redeem his loss.
In an interview with The Guardian, he compared the lock down to his younger, wild days, “I had a major court case and I prayed: ‘God, if you give me a second chance at life I will make all the changes in the world.’ When I beat that court case, I got into boxing and I focused. Same thing with Ruiz, give me a second chance at life and see what I can do. I just dedicated myself. I said I would put myself on a 15-year prison sentence to boxing and have that focus.”
Joshua re-dedicated his life back to the craft of boxing. “Over the next months I used the information I had stored up to make tweaks to my training,” he wrote in The Players’ Tribune. “I looked at how much time I had spent in Miami, how much time I had spent in New York.”
“I looked at my strengths and weaknesses, my whole regime. I broke down every single detail. I analysed Andy, tried to delve into his technique, his character, his psychology. I also stopped studying the fighters and began studying the teachers, the masters who taught the all-time greats. I’m talking about the Muhammad Alis, the Joe Louises, the Meldrick Taylors, the Julio César Chávezes. What were they doing? What were they saying?”
The renewed focus paid off. Joshua went on to win the rematch against Ruiz and reclaim the heavyweight title; a testament to the champion’s learning mindset and dedication to improving every aspect of his craft.
I live the life. I don’t think many people can say that. I don’t drink, smoke or stay up late. I don’t think other people are on it like me. They talk a good game but they don’t do it. Put a camera on us for 24 hours and you’d see who the real man is.Anthony Joshua’s Boxing Tips and Training Advice | Coach
Anthony Joshua’s training routine & diet
On a typical day, Joshua is awake between 6.30-7am, after getting his 10 hours of sleep to properly rest his body. “Some fighters get up at 5.00am, which is all good but sometimes I don’t leave the gym until late at night so I need rest,” he said in a Mr Porter interview. “I’m training hard so I need rest to attack the day properly.”
Like most boxers, Joshua used to get up before the crack of dawn, but after seeing Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather wake up after they felt properly rested, the Olympic gold medallist changed up his daily routine. “I have been shifting my training patterns this time round, moving away from the traditional routine to suit the way my body works and I can really feel the benefits.”
The heavyweight champion will regularly put in three gym sessions each day — one at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm — and that’s not including the road work first thing in the morning. “I implement fasted cardio before breakfast to build my fitness and burn fat,” he told Life Beyond Sport. “Unless you wake up two hours before you train, it’s hard to have a breakfast first anyway and we like to start early.”
Training sessions can vary on a day-to-day basis, but on a whole, there’s a lot of cardio, bodyweight exercises, strength & conditioning, core work and, of course, sparring. “In the evening I do a four-hour boxing session, sparring with some big lumps.” He’ll also throw in some neck training (“as a heavyweight boxer, you need extremely strong neck muscles, so I train regularly with a neck harness”), and shadowboxing in the sand to build up explosiveness in his legs, “it’s very heavy on the legs and it’s similar to how the Brazilians learn to play football.”
In a 2021 interview, Joshua’s physiotherapist Rob Madden gave readers a glimpse of the boxer’s preparation in the last few weeks of training camp. “Preparation before a fight comes down to making sure he gets enough rest and good quality nutrition and his body feels fresh,” Madden explained. “Generally, all of the hard boxing training gets done prior to fight week but he will do a few sessions on the pads to sharpen up closer to the night.”
Boxing is difficult as it is, so, getting fit is half the battle. If you’re fit, you’re in a good place to be and then, all you have to learn is the technical side of it.How to Train Like Heavyweight Boxing Champ Anthony Joshua | Men’s Health
When it comes to fuelling his body, as a heavyweight, Joshua doesn’t have to worry about making weight unlike boxers from smaller divisions. In a GQ profile leading up to his bout against Alexander Povetkin, Joshua revealed that he routinely consumes up to 5,000 calories per day, while avoiding white rice, cheese and gluten.
He describes his typical diet during a training day:
The first thing I do in the morning is drink a liter of water. That helps me get my metabolism going. I’ll have some fruit, so it’s not too heavy for my stomach. I’ll then have a proper breakfast, which is what most people have for lunch, because I’m eating at around 11:00 A.M.: Rice, chicken, vegetables, and sweet potatoes. Sometimes I’ll switch it up and have pork instead. If I want a snack, it’ll be either yogurt and honey or meringues. By dinner, I’ll have completed all of my main training sessions, so I’ll have red meat or fish: steak or salmon with pasta, whole grain rice or quinoa, and vegetables. I do allow myself to indulge every once in a while, even when I’m training. I’m lucky enough to have a trainer who prepares homemade protein bars and protein shakes for me. I may also have something like a mousse or yogurt.The Real-Life Diet of Anthony Joshua, Boxing’s Unified Heavyweight Champion | GQ
Occasionally, he’ll indulge in brownies and ice cream for a cheat meal, but will never go overboard, preferring to stay in fighting shape all-year around, save for a week or two off during Christmas.
Boxing training is still quite old-school and rugged in many ways. I like it that way because it keeps you grounded. There is not much glitz and glamour. You don’t need much to be a boxer –a pair of gloves, some shorts, a heavy bag and a coach.Anthony Joshua – In Shape For Success | Life Beyond Sport
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