ANTHONY JOSHUA has recalled the terrifying moment he almost threw his boxing career down the toilet and the crazy excuse he used to try to fool the police who arrested him.
In 2011, with the London Olympics just months away and AJ tipped to take gold, the Watford teenager was pulled over for speeding.
Two of the three officers were charmed by the teenager’s Hollywood smile.
They appeared to fall for the English-Nigerian’s far-fetched excuse for the stench of cannabis coming from his luxury Mercedes now parked on a notorious estate.
But one diligent officer saw through his defence and discovered 8oz of cannabis in his bag.
That led to 100 hours of community service and a brief ban from the Team GB squad for AJ.
In a searingly-honest interview with Apple Music, AJ said: “I was boxing for Team GB a year before the Olympics.
“At that stage I was earning about £500 a month and I had seen more money than that so it could not keep me away from opportunities that came my way, at that stage of my life.
“I was on a notorious estate, the Grahame Park estate in North-West London.
“I was a young boxer in my Team GB tracksuit, I was driving a Mercedes at the time, as well, cruising through the estate and three undercover police stopped me.
“Two of them were cool but I could tell that the other one was thinking ‘whatever this guy is talking about, I know he is lying, up to something’.
“They said that my car smelt a bit so I told them my uncle was a Rasta, they smoke weed, and I had just dropped him off at the station.
“I told them that I hated it because I was just trying to focus on the Olympics.”
Joshua continued: “They said they understood and told me to stay focused but then one of them picked my big bag and asked ‘what is this?’
“I thought about running but I was part of the Olympic team so I had to just deal with it like a man.
“I got charged and I done community service.
“But I got banned from the Olympic team and that was a tough time.”
Instead of trying to hide the truth about his wayward youth, AJ credits that arrest – following time spent on remand at Reading prison in 2008 – as his epiphany.
Instead of doing time at Her Majesty’s pleasure, Joshua gave himself a 15-year-old sentence to dominate heavyweight boxing.
Speaking before the December rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr, he said: “When I had that second chance at life, when I was getting in trouble, I dedicated myself to boxing.
“I said I would put myself on a 15-year prison sentence to boxing and have that focus.
“I could go on longer. It’s just a mindset, a prison mindset, like a military mindset, lockdown.
“Training, focus, sleep. You have to have that mindset. You have to be in that regiment.
“So when I went into boxing, I was getting into a lot of trouble, a major court case…
“I beat the 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.”