Nigeria to invite Anthony Joshua home

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By Rotimi Ijikanmi

Nigeria’s Federal Government plans to invite Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua, the boxing world heavyweight champion to the country soon.

Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed dropped this hint in the congratulatory message issued on behalf of the Federal Government on Tuesday.

Mohammed said the government will soon invite the new World Heavyweight Champion to Nigeria, especially as he has said he is looking forward to giving something back to the country.

Joshua is a British professional boxer of Nigerian descent. Both parents are from Ogun State.

On Saturday, in front of a record 90,000 spectators at Wembley, Joshua   defeated Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko to become the unified World Heavyweight Champion.

Mohammed said Nigeria is proud to be associated with the new unified World champion, whose Nigerian heritage he has publicly acknowledged.

”My heart is in Nigeria, My heart is in Britain. I am a Nigerian man by blood, yes,” the Minister quoted Joshua as saying in a recent interview, during which the boxer also listed the secret of his success as pounded yam, eba and egusi – all Nigerian cuisine.

He hailed Joshua for his humility, despite his success in boxing, and his undying spirit, coming off the canvas after he was knocked down by Klitschko in the sixth round to win by a Technical Knock Out in the 11th round of their pulsating fight.

Joshua, who made his professional debut in 2013. was born in Watford to a Nigerian mother and a British father of Nigerian and Irish descent.

Some of the early years of the 27-year-old champion were spent in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, before he returned to the UK halfway through year seven to join Kings Langley Secondary School.

Growing up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshire, Joshua was called ‘Femi’ by his friends and former teachers. (NAN)