“The fighters are in their corner
And they are ready
Let’s get ready to rumbleeeee
Wearing white with black…Joshua!”
Date: June 1, 2019.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York
Audience: Planet Earth
Content: Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr.
If I remember clearly, it was a Saturday night.
It was a very famous match that was broadcasted internationally and this was my first encounter with the boxing genius that is Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua. I remember my father getting so hyped up about the game. I remember seeing so many social media commentaries and analysis on the prospects of the match. I remember seeing Whatsapp statuses get flooded and energized and charged with the outcome of the match.
If an alien had decided to take a quick commercial break on earth at that period, it would have been bewildered by all of the hullabaloos that were going on.
Anthony Joshua, popularly known as AJ, was our Nigerian star. We as Nigerians were so consumed with seeing one of our own bring glory to our country and to our name. I cannot fully describe the intense emotions that accompanied the seeming disappointing outcome of the match. Andy Ruiz Jr. won the match via a technical knockout, ended Anthony Joshua’s undefeated record, and became the new unified heavyweight champion. The fight was considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
However, in the never-die spirit that is Anthony Joshua, he would thereafter go on to have a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr and reclaim his heavyweight titles.
AJ’s career has been a robust journey really.
His achievements in the boxing world would include 23 wins, a two-time unified heavyweight champion, titles in the World Boxing Association(Super), International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization, International Boxing Organization, and British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles from 2014 to 2016.
As a show of gratitude for his immense contributions to boxing, in 2013, he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). He is also recognized as one of the most marketable athletes in the world, and has lucrative endorsement deals with numerous brands, including Under Armour, Beats By Dre, and Lucozade.
“My heart is with Nigeria, my heart is with Britain, I’m a Nigerian man by blood”
It is intriguing to know that Anthony Joshua embraces his Nigerian roots as much as we lay a claim to him. For someone who has lived in the United Kingdom almost all his life, save the short period he was in boarding school in Nigeria, he eats Nigerian food, dresses Nigerian, listens to Nigerian music, and even speaks a little bit of Yoruba. How interesting!
He always makes known the influence his Nigerian background and the culture had on him growing up.
Indeed, it won’t be out of place to end this piece by sharing that, in all of his 6 feet 6 inches height of glory, Anthony Joshua is deeply adored by the girls and even guys alike and AJ, Our Man of the People, shines on.