A more contemporary advocate of African excellence, is the man of the moment Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, or quite simply, ‘AJ’. Known to many as the reigning king of British boxing, Joshua himself will refuse to allow you forget his Nigerian origin as he parades his distinguished shoulder tattoo each and every single time he walks into the ring. The tattoo is the outline of the continent of Africa with his mothering nation outlined as well, the word ‘Wisdom’ is inked above.
AJ first appeared my radar in 2012, I watched as he demolished his way to an Olympic final in London, where he defeated the defending champion to become win Gold, but this is certainly not where the story began for him. Joshua was born on 15th October 1989 in Watford but spent some of his early years growing up in Nigeria, he moved back to London where he would excel in sports but also found himself getting into trouble as a result of his surroundings. Joshua started boxing at the at of 18, which is relatively late in boxing terms, however, he managed over forty amateur fights before winning his Olympic gold and turning professional the following year.
Joshua made his professional debut in October 2013, in which he made light work of his opponent with a TKO in the first-round. The 6’6” heavyweight continued to bulldoze his way through opponents and won his first world-title (IBF) with a second-round knockout of the American Charles Martin.
On the 29th April 2017, Joshua was involved in a legendary night against reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. The fight was dramatic to say the very least, both men hit the canvas and it looked as if the fight would go the distance until AJ summoned the energy to stop Klitschko in the eleventh round and take his crown. In one of the most historic nights in boxing’s recent history, AJ became unified champion of the heavyweight division.
AJ is built like a real-life superhero, so much so I am beginning to believe he is a descendant of the Jabari tribe from Wakanda, however, it is not just his physicality, good-looks and the fact that he is 20-0 that make him so endearing. Anthony Joshua is an articulate young man, he displays intelligence and a confident humility that makes him a superb representative of the African community and the African diaspora worldwide, and at 28 years old, it is safe to say he is just getting started!
Written by Lyham Douglas