If Anthony Joshua had killed a soldier on a south London street, the world will be quick to remind us that he’s of African descent and a Nigerian. But he’s only a Brit if he just won the IBF world heavyweight title. But it doesn’t matter; we know he was born Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua to Nigerian parents.
Joshua grew up for much of his early years in Nigeria and returned to the UK when he was 10.
On Saturday, he became the world heavyweight champion after beating title holder Charles Martin in four minutes, 32 seconds, taking his career wins to 16 out of 16 fights, all ending in knockouts.
Martin was not an unworthy opponent; remember, he was the world champion before meeting Joshua and he had won all 24 contests before then. Though young and considered a little inexperienced for the top stage, Joshua proved that quality has nothing to do with age.
“I come to knock people out and give value for money,” said Joshua following the fight. “It’s about power and precision. I told you what I was going to do. I’m going to keep on grinding, keep on working hard, and I’ll fight them all.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says the world now has a champion we can truly be proud of. “This man is the most humble boxing champion you have ever seen.”
“Josh has become one of the biggest stars in British sport and maybe world sport.
“We have Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua both British heavyweight champions of the world who could fight each other in a unification match to unify all the belts. That will never happen again. I can’t tell you how important this night has been.
“Josh deserved this. He works so hard in the gym, so hard at everything he does.”
Charles Martin went to the fight wearing a crown but his ego was bruised and his body battered. He went home without his crown, thanks to Joshua.
Africans achieve great things abroad. It tells me one thing; we are a very talented race, made to achieve great things but our environment affects us, limits us. We have to fix Africa!