Anthony Joshua saved my life…without him, I’d be dead or in jail, says boxing hopeful Nadir Ibrahim

A YOUNG boxer has told how Anthony Joshua rescued him from a life of crime, saying of the ring champ: “Without him, I’d be dead or in prison.”

Talented Nadir Ibrahim, 17, was ringside for AJ’s fight with Oleksandr Usyk last night. Nadir said his mentor now personally sponsors him after the teenager experienced troubles both at home and at school.


Nadir Ibrahim says Anthony Joshua saved his lifeCredit: Dan Charity
The boxing champion mentors Nadir and has become something of a 'father figure'


The boxing champion mentors Nadir and has become something of a ‘father figure’

Nadir revealed how Anthony, 31, has confided in him, saying he too was once on the brink of being kicked out the family home after getting in trouble over “graffiti and police chases” aged 18.

Their bond formed after AJ heard about Nadir’s troubles while they trained at the same North London gym.

Nadir told The Sun on Sunday: “I owe so much to Josh. He’s been like a father figure to me.

“There is no doubting that without his support I’d be dead or in prison. He told me when he was 17 or 18 he got caught up in crime and he was nearly kicked out of home.


“He said he was getting into graffiti, police chases and generally breaking the rules. But it was boxing that sorted him out and got him out of that place. He’s the best role model I could have and being the only person he sponsors is so humbling.”

AJ, 31, took on Ukrainian Usyk last night in front of 67,000 people at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the biggest boxing crowd on these shores since the pandemic began.

And today his protege offers a fascinating insight into the fighter’s life, including how he has a giant picture of a lion for inspiration in one of his homes.

He also always turns down dessert to keep his fitness on track and he is DESPERATE to finally get into the ring with Tyson Fury.

Nadir first came across AJ when he was just 15 and started training at the Finchley Amateur Boxing Club in Barnet.

Nadir said: “My dad left home when I was young. I was getting into trouble at school and at home. I was going through a bad stage and my mum was having problems. I felt I couldn’t tell anyone, so going to the gym to box was my only escape.

“The first time I met Josh, I remember being really starstruck and inspired.

“He sparred with me and I remember him looking at me really normally. No one else did, really.

“It was like he knew what I was going through. His nickname for me — Flashy Nadz — soon stuck.

“The bosses at the gym asked why I was in there every day. They said, ‘You need to be at school’, so I explained to them what was happening. I spoke to Sean Murphy, Josh’s old coach and he spoke to Josh. One day Josh took me into a separate room and sat me down.

“The way he looked at me and spoke to me, he could understand exactly where I was coming from.

“He said he was in a similar situation. He said he was into crime back then and he was close to being in real trouble.

“He said, ‘I was like you — boxing can get you out of it’.

“Then he said, ‘I’m going to sponsor you, to give you a help’. He doesn’t do this for every other kid. After that we got a real bond together.”

Nadir says AJ now checks in with him most days, adding: “He gives me a weekly allowance.

He said, ‘I was like you — boxing can get you out of it’.

Nadir Ibrahim

“He supports me and catches up with me over text. He’s always making sure I’m on the straight and narrow and saying, ‘Just remember, that money is for training — don’t be spending it going out’. He also trains with me and gives me tips. He’s been amazing.”

AJ’s fitness routine has inspired him too. Nadir, who is tipped to turn pro over the next few years, added: “Josh is unbelievably healthy.

“He comes into the gym with huge bags of fruit, cuts them up and hands them out to the kids. When I’ve been for dinner with him, he always eats really well too — always fish, chicken and vegetables.

“But he always says no to the dessert menu.

“He is a machine when it comes to training. After his last fight he was in the gym two days later.

“He always says how the one thing he can’t wait for is a fight with Tyson Fury. That’s one thing that drives him.

“The guy is obsessed with boxing, too. I’ve been to one of his houses, which he lets one of his friends stay at. It’s full of motivational quotes and a huge picture of a lion on the wall to inspire him.

“I feel very lucky that I get to see what drives him and go to his fights. He has helped me get my life on track.”

Nadir is tipped to turn pro over the next few years


Nadir is tipped to turn pro over the next few yearsCredit: Dan Charity
The boxing hopeful says 'AJ has helped me get my life on track'


The boxing hopeful says ‘AJ has helped me get my life on track’Credit: Dan Charity
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk is coming to boiling point ahead of big fight at Spurs’ Stadium


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