Sunday, April 30, 2017 5:34 pm
Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko yesterday at Wembley Stadium and became the new World Heavyweight boxing Champion of unified IBF,WBO and WBC.
Anthony Joshua in 2008, according to Wale Adeoye, a Nigerian journalist, opted to fight for Nigeria in Beijing Olympics, came to Nigeria only to be rejected by Head Coach, Obisia Nwakpa an Ex Olympian and former challenger for world title championship beaten by Saul Mamby of USA in the 80’s at National Stadium Lagos
Adeoye argued: “It was on record that the coach queried Anthony Joshua that if he is that good why is he not representing Britain where he came from, the humble guy who was a rejected in Nigeria. He went back to England, joined the British Olympic team and won the Gold in 2012 London Olympics becoming cornerstone
“Last night would have been more glorious for all Nigerians and happy moment if Anthony Joshua was actually flying the Nigerian green white green flag– the British flag was aloft at Wembley yesterday due to error committed by our sports administrators.”
Speaking with UK Sun, Okorodudu recalled that nine years back, Joshua’s efforts to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Olympic Games were futile as the Nigerian boxing officials turned him down.
He said, “Joshua was in Nigeria once to connect with his roots and I think that was in 2007.
“He wanted a chance to compete for trials ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifiers, but he was denied and not given a chance.
“Disappointed, he went back to England to represent Great Britain.
“He went on to win a gold that could have been a first for Nigeria at the Olympics.
“If only they had allowed him to compete for Nigeria, that gold would have been a Nigerian gold and not Great Britain’s.”
Another Nigeria coach at the time, Adegboyega Adeniji-Adele also confirmed the fact that Joshua was at the Nigerian camp.
“Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua is his name and his family come from Ogun state in Nigeria,” he told the newspaper.
“When he visited, his intention was to represent Nigeria at the Olympics but he was denied in the trials. He had no other option than to go to Britain.
“It’s Nigeria’s loss, Britain’s gain. Personally, I feel sad that they let him go and those people should be made to explain why it was impossible to give him a chance.”
However, Obisia Nwakpa, who was the chief coach of the boxing team in 2008, defended the decision of not taking Joshua to the Olympics.
“We made the right call then, because he wasn’t good enough and we picked someone who was much better,” he was quoted as saying.