Two-time world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua has revealed his intention to defend his world heavyweight title belts in Nigeria. The British/Nigerian pugilist disclosed this following his rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jnr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
Further, Anthony Joshua, who was born of Nigerian parents, has revealed his desire to make this a reality soon. Equally important, Anthony Joshua has disclosed that his dream of staging a fight in Nigeria; began after a visit to the country this year.
If this comes to light, it would be the first world championship heavyweight fight on the continent outside South Africa; since the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire in 1974 between two boxing greats, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
“People had been telling me I should go back for ages. It was crazy because they don’t have 24-hour electricity but they still know me and support me.
Going back home to Nigeria was one of the best things I’ve done, says Anthony Joshua
“I went to the ghettos of the ghettos where it’s not all about egos and beef; it’s about people who are hungry to survive. It was one of the best things I’ve done. Africa’s rooting for me for sure, so I would definitely love to fight out there.”
Joshua’s immediate fight plans include a return to London; possibly at the home of Tottenham Hotspur; to defend his titles against either the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev or the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, However, his promoter, Eddie Hearn, has received numerous offers to stage future bouts elsewhere, including Africa.
Joshua’s parents are both of Nigerian descent. Also, he had made a bid to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Olympics. However, he was turned down by boxing officials.
Following his rematch victory over Andy Ruiz; President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a congratulatory message to Anthony Joshua. The message read in part; “The downfall of a man is truly not the end of his life. There’s always another, and better day. This is a lesson we must all learn from you as a country.”
Incidentally, Anthony Joshua has a cousin, Ben Ileyemi, who is also a professional boxer. The pair made their professional debuts together in 2013.