It was on Sunday the 30th of April that the name Anthony Joshua continued to reverberate through the world of sports. Joshua, who is a relatively unknown name in the arena of boxing became more popular by beating the junior Klitschko after some gruelling boxing rounds. It’s a fight that only a few free betting predictions for sport online gave in his support, with a majority of them tipping Klitschko to win. It was after his victory that the world started going through the dossier of this black dude who is said to have been involved in 19 boxing bouts, winning the entire 19.
However, just as the celebration reverberated in the entire boxing world, another set of controversies were being witnessed in the UK and Nigeria. It would be recalled that Anthony Joshua who was born in the UK and who has represented the United Kingdom in the Olympics and other boxing competitions was born by Nigerian parents. So while the UK was celebrating their own for beating one of the world’s greatest and becoming the WBA heavyweight champion, Nigerians on the other end were also having great celebrations, especially in Sagamu where the parents of the lad hail from.
However, this is not as simple as it seems since many Nigerian writers have frowned at the fact that the UK is claiming the man as theirs alone. For them, Anthony Joshua is only getting the accolades and is being named British because he achieved success. They pointed to the fact that if he had been involved in a crime of high magnitude, we would have been inundated with stories of his Nigerian decent, heritage and origin.
The fact that the western world will always try to claim the good as theirs and reject the bad is nothing new. This calls to mind the story of two British terrorists who stabbed and tried to behead an off-duty soldier in SE London in May 2013. The origin of one of them named Michael Adebolajo was immediately traced to Nigeria, even though records have it that he has never been to Nigeria all through his life. We also know about the London attacker that killed four people including a police officer at Westminster. He has also been traced back to Nigeria as a Yoruba with the name Adrian Russell Ajao. However, this person may not have been to Nigeria since he was born
The justification from the British media is that Nigeria rejected Joshua when he wanted to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Olympics. But this has been debunked as a lie by the then boxing coach Obisia Nwamkpa. The former Commonwealth Champion said that
“He reached out to us, asking to be part of our Olympic team, so we invited him to come down and take part in trials.
“Unfortunately, he did not appear when we asked him to and came down only when we had finished our trials, finalised our team, and were about to travel for a training tour. Maybe other coaches would have accepted it, but I could not.
“It’s a pity he did not get his chance at that time, but the two boxers we selected then, Durodola Olanrewaju and Onorede Ehwareme, were outstanding and experienced and there was no way I was going to drop them for somebody I had not even seen.”
This buries all those lies that he was rejected.
One more interesting thing about Joshua and his family is that they are madly in love with their root.
It was said that his grandfather had to fight and defeat three white men in 1952 when he wanted to marry an Irish woman and they refused, telling him that as a black man, he has no right to marry a white woman.
However, the marriage later happened and it produced Anthony Joshua’s father. But the amazing thing is that despite Joshua’s father being mixed due to his Irish mother, he even loved his Yoruba origin more than his forebears.
This is why he had to come down to Sagamu, his native community in Nigeria to pick a Yoruba wife. Thus his marriage to Yeta, produced the now famous Anthony Joshua.
So, barring all sports rules and nationality issues, Nigeria is as right and entitled as the UK to claim Joshua as theirs.