Nigerians Burn British Heavyweight Boxer Become The Ultimat Overcomer Anthony Joshuae.


Anthony Joshua

Before now, few Nigerians knew the rapidly rising British heavyweight boxing star, Anthony Joshua. But after he “slayed” Wladimir, the younger of the dreaded Klitschko brothers from Ukraine, he became an instant worldwide sensation. Here in Nigeria, his name grew longer: Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua. His mother is from Ogun State while his father had a mixed Nigerian/Irish heritage. He was born in Watford, England where he grew up.

Success has many brothers and sisters, but failure is an orphan. This fits perfectly with the story of this young, phenomenal pugilist. He left the cozy nurture of Britain with a wish to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

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He could not make it into the Nigerian team because of alleged lateness to camp. Meanwhile, Nigeria already had boxers in his weight class who were more experienced and seemed surer medal bets.

Undaunted, Joshua competed for England and emerged an Olympic heavyweight gold medalist at the 2012 London Summer Olympiad. After that, he joined the paid ranks, and within a space of five years, won 19 professional fights via technical knockouts without losing or drawing.

His encounter with Wladimir was a major test for Joshua, popularly known as “AJ”. He defeated the younger Klitschko in front of a 90,000-capacity crowd at the Wembley Stadium, London, thus amassing two major belts – the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Association (WBA) titles. Now, he has his eyes set on the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) belts which will complete his dominance of world heavyweight boxing.

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Anthony Joshua has become the hero of the two countries he belongs to – Nigeria and the UK. He seized the august occasion of his historic win to express his gratitude to Britain, his country of birth. Now, there is a talk of plans by the Federal Government to receive and honour “AJ”. In fact, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, in a fit of rhapsody, suggested that “AJ” be made a “Nigerian Brand Ambassador”.

But does Nigeria have the moral justification to claim Anthony Joshua as our “brand” as we had no hand whatsoever in honing his talent as a boxer? However, since, biologically, “AJ” is more Nigerian than anything; he can be our Brand Ambassador if truly he wants to identify more with Nigeria, the land of his ancestors.

The Anthony Joshua story is yet another reminder of the abundant human resources which Nigerians are forced to put at the disposal of foreign countries because our system is incapable of nurturing greatness.
The youth should be inspired by the story of “AJ”’s double conquests: of rejection and the dreaded Klitschko boxing phenomenon.

Nothing can stop a determined young man or woman from being the best.

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