Boxing is, as we know, a heck of a dangerous sport. For too many years, people have felt bad when looking, or being forced to look away, when spotting a former champion or star who is clearly in a deteriorated, damaged state or condition. Now, finally, a huge name from the sport is seriously looking at making the selfless act of doing something to help retired fighters suffering from ill health due to the rigors of the ring.

Anthony Joshua wants to “give back” by opening a care home for retired fighters. Joshua, who is still close to his prime and, as such, is potentially a good few years away from retirement, spoke with BBC’s Desert Island Discs, and the former two-time heavyweight champion spoke about opening such a care home.

Too often, AJ said, damaged fighters “suffer alone.” With their money gone, along with a good portion of their health, many of these fighters are too proud to ask for help. Joshua plans to build a facility for them so that they will not need to ask for help.

“They suffer by themselves, so we’ve been speaking about opening up a care home,” Joshua said. “That would be part of my boxing legacy – that I gave something back to the sport that made me. The one thing I would hope for is to keep my health intact because your health is the most important thing you’re putting on the line. We can notice it in fighters when their health is deteriorating, but we never actually talk about it amongst ourselves. All we focus on is winning.”

Unfortunately, very few big-name fighters manage to leave the sport with what an observer could call the ‘big three’—health, wealth, and reputation.

The few lucky ones you could name are legends such as Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, and one or two other guys. Still, in comparison to the lucky few, there are way too many Muhammad Alis, Tommy Hearnss (who has nowhere near the money he should have, while his overall health, though pretty good, could certainly be better), Bobby Chacons, Iran Barkleys (who was flat broke at one point and has suffered from poor eyesight since quitting the ring, if not before) and so many others you could list.

A care home, a place that would afford help and dignity for fighters suffering from CTE or other health issues, would be nothing but a great thing. Hopefully, with Joshua leading the way, other big names will come on board, such as rich promoters, for example, people who earn millions from the sport without ever taking a single punch.

Good on AJ for trying to do what he’s trying to do. And more power to him!

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