Anatoly Roshchin, who was involved in weightlifting and played basketball in his youth, took up wrestling quite late, in 1955, when he served in Soviet Navy. He was considered a promising wrestler, but a thyroid disorder caused by excessive stress in 1957 nearly put an early end to his wrestling career. It took almost three years to recover from the disease, after surgery where part of his thyroid gland was removed. Roshchin, who competed in Greco-Roman heavyweight for his entire career, won his first Soviet Championships medal, silver, in 1961. The next year, he won gold at the Soviet Championships and was selected for the Soviet national team. Roshchin made his international début at the 1962 World Championships, where he won silver. At the 1963 World Championships, Roshchin won a gold medal and went to the 1964 Olympics as a clear favorite for the Olympic Greco-Roman heavyweight title. At the Olympics, however, Roshchin wrestled a draw with István Kozma in the final round and, due to the bad points system, had to settle for a silver medal. Between the Olympics, Roshchin competed at two major international tournaments, winning gold at the 1966 European Championships and silver at the 1967 World Championships, and had to settle for silver again at the 1968 Olympics, after once more drawing with Kozma in the final round. After the 1968 Olympics, Roshchin was nearly undefeated, winning gold at the 1969 and 1971 World Championships and silver at the 1972 World Championships. At the 1972 Summer Olympics, by then 40-years-old, Roshchin won gold. Domestically, in addition to his 1961 and 1962 medals, Roshchin was Soviet Champion in 1963, 1967 and 1971, earning silver in 1964-65, 1968 and 1972. After finishing his sporting career in 1972, Roshchin worked as an international wrestling referee.