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Joshua's New Aggressive Attitude: Authenticity or Act? Eddie Hearn Defends Heavyweight Star

Anthony Joshua’s new tough guy demeanor, seen during a press conference confrontation with Daniel Dubois and a social media feud with Carl Froch, has sparked claims of inauthenticity.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-07-05

Louis Hobbs

7 minutes read

Matchroom Boxing's promoter Eddie Hearn speaks at the Johnny Fisher vs Alen Babic Final Press Conference

Claims that Anthony Joshua’s new tough guy demeanour is a facade have been ridiculed by the heavyweight’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

AJ’s Confrontation with Dubois: A Change in Approach

Famed for being calm and composed at the beginning of his professional career, Joshua threatened to hit Daniel Dubois with a chair during a press conference ahead of their IBF title fight at Wembley this September.

The 34-year-old, who previously held that belt as well as the WBA, WBO and IBO versions before being dethroned by Oleksandr Usyk, also used to occasion to label Tyson Fury “an idiot” before becoming embroiled in a social media feud with another fellow Brit - former super-middleweight king Carl Froch.

Joshua’s change of approach has prompted some critics to accuse him of acting in order to remain relevant in a division dominated by Fury and the Ukrainian. 

Men's Health UK announces Eddie Hearn as new digital columnist

Image Credits: Hearst UK 

From Ambassador to Unfiltered: Hearn Explains Joshua’s Transformation

But, according to Hearn, his boxer’s confrontational attitude stems from the fact he no longer feels the need to act as a cheerleader for the sport.

“He’s always had that edge,” the Matchroom chief told SportsBoom.com.

“But I think he’s a lot less guarded now.”

“When he won the Olympics, he came through that GB school which can be very corporate and that’s been amazing for the sport.”

“He’s been an ambassador for it, increased interest in it again and increased participation among kids at grassroots level.”

“But now he thinks ‘I’ve done my job. I don’t give a f**k anymore.’ Now, if you put it on him, he wants to take your head off.”

“People say they love this new AJ,” Hearn continued. “It’s not a new AJ in terms of his edge.”

“He’s always been real. But I do think it’s a new AJ in terms of his confidence.”

The Real AJ: Confidence Unleashed

“He’s still the same AJ I’ve always seen right the way through though. Nothing, from my perspective and from what I know of him, has changed whatsoever.”

From Watford, Joshua has won all of his four bouts since suffering back-to-back defeats to Usyk with three of those victories coming inside the distance. 

A Path to Redemption and New Opportunities

With Dubois being installed as the IBF champion following Usyk’s decision to relinquish the belt after his recent decision over Fury for the undisputed crown, Joshua knows that beating the Londoner could set up either a return with his former conqueror or money-spinning clash with The Gypsy King.

A Shift in Attitude: No Longer Holding Back

Reflecting on Joshua’s argument with Dubois, Hearn said: “Now, when I see people say ‘Come on then’ he’s back on the estate and out in the park. In the past, he might have taken a deep breath and decided not to rise to it or take the bait whereas now things are very different.”

“He won’t back down. He’s not bothered about all the other stuff, trying to impress different people anymore.”

“He’s always been true to himself, and he’s always been real. I know that. He knows that.”

“The only difference now is that people who might not know him as well as I or those around him do are seeing that side to him we’ve always known has been there,” Hearn concluded. 

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.