Anthony Joshua savours 'surreal' thrill of Sir Elton John and Dr Dre in his corner

Gareth A Davies
The Telegraph
Anthony Joshua was called by Sir Elton John, one Watford boy wishing another well, on the eve of the fight - REUTERS
Anthony Joshua was called by Sir Elton John, one Watford boy wishing another well, on the eve of the fight - REUTERS

Anthony Joshua's newfound fame has brought with it a new group of interested friends - including the musicians Sir Elton John and Dr Dre. Sir Elton had been in touch with Joshua before the contest and bought the pay-per-view event on Saturday night to watch at home as he has been unwell. Dr Dre was ringside.

"We spoke to Elton John before the fight. He sent a message, saying he would like to speak to me," revealed Joshua on Monday. "He's a Watford man. It felt surreal, Elton John wanting to talk to me. He's following boxing, not just me. He may have seen the Dr Dre video, so he is accessible. He just wanted to pass on a good luck message as a fellow Watford guy and wish me good luck."

"He's had to cancel some shows because he's been ill, but he was going to buy the pay-per-view and watch it. I started laughing when he said that and said 'no illegal streams I hope'," added Joshua, who was first raised in Watford before moving to North London.

"I'd love to go to a Watford game," said Joshua, disclosing that at one time it was his "dream" to fight at Vicarage Road. With a 30,000 capacity, it would no longer be bigger enough to support a fight involving the heavyweight who, overnight, became one of biggest sports commodities in the world.

Joshua was taken aback when the American hip hop artist and music producer Dr Dre mde contact. "I was baffled and shocked. What is it like? It's just inspirational. He knows what we're doing. I took inspiration from that. I thought: 'How am I speaking to Dr Dre?'"

<span>Sir Elton John contacted Anthony Joshua on the eve of the fight</span> <span>Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP </span>
Sir Elton John contacted Anthony Joshua on the eve of the fight Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Already installed as the odds-on favourite to be elected BBC Sports Personality of the Year by the public, Joshua looked at Andy Murray's celebrated success. "Andy Murray? What they've done, they've been doing it for a lot longer and a higher level. I've only just arrived. They have been doing it for a long time, so big respect to them.

"I've met Andy. He loves his boxing. I think he would have enjoyed that fight wherever he was in the world. He was in the Olympic Village with me. I went to a couple of his matches. Like Klitschko did, like I now want to do, Murray's done it at the top for a long time so he definitely deserves the credit he receives because of how long he's been in the sport. That speaks volumes. It's not just about arriving or how you conduct yourself inside, it's about what you do outside as well."

The 10 most iconic pictures from Joshua's win Klitschko

Outside boxing, Joshua embraces his social responsibilities. "I want to do things for charity. I'd like to give and help people. That's important.I know for a fact there's some kid somewhere who has watched what we're doing and is like, I can do that. They'll find themselves in a gym somehow and will go on and do better than we have done.

"I can't stop kids doing bad. But I can definitely relate. The issue people have with politicians is how can you talk about something that's happening in certain areas when you haven't lived in certain areas. I can definitely relate to a lot of people. I wouldn't mind doing prison visits and giving people a bit of inspiration. Just helping people. It's important."

"The ambition is to always get ahead, never stay in the same position. That's what we're trying to promote. I'd never sit with the kids who have had it tough and say: 'Look, stay where you are.'

"It's always the ambition to move forward and that's what I'll always preach. I'd like to show them. You can't achieve what you don't see. If you don't see a Bentley you'll never want to buy one. I'd like to invite them to places like this. That's why it's important to me while we're renting this place that I bring family here and am like, come and have a look at this, get inspired, take something from it. I used a lot of that for motivational purposes.

"Money isn't everything," he explained. "If you can use inspiration, I think the knowledge you gain ... I know some very wealthy people - they've never given me a pound in my life but have given me a million pounds worth of knowledge. That's what I take away and what I want to give. I might not give you physical gifts and stuff like that but I'll give you some inspiration and show you what hard work can get you."

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