Anthony Joshua has never made any secret of his African roots and often talks about his pride in having Nigerian heritage. Some may find it hard to see the unified world heavyweight champions as a true African after being born in Watford, England, but they may not know that the 29-year-old once opted to don the white and green of Nigeria instead of the Union Jack, only to be turned down by the Nigerian Boxing Federation.

Indeed, it was back in 2008 before the Olympics in Beijing that a young Anthony Joshua asked to be part of Nigeria’s team. He was then invited down for a trial but didn’t arrive on time and was subsequently rejected by the country of his mother’s birth. It could have ultimately been this rejection that led to Joshua’s rise to stardom, but the point stands and there can be no getting away from the fact that Anthony Joshua initially wanted to fight on behalf of Nigeria.

The man that stopped Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in 2017 has never said whether he looks back on that rejection with a sense of relief, given the mega superstar he has become, but that hasn’t stopped him speaking of his African heritage with great enthusiasm and respect. Despite being of Nigerian descent, the whole of Africa should be immensely proud of Joshua given that he looks like he could become the greatest boxer of all time.

Joshua’s current record reads 22 fight and 22 wins with 21 knockouts. Achieving a knockout in 95% of his professional fights is a statistic that speaks volumes about Joshua’s power, and upcoming opponent Andy Ruiz will be aware of the risks now that he has agreed to stand in and fight Joshua in lieu of original opponent Jarrell Miller.

The American Miller was banned for six months after failing three drug tests. But, in the case of Ruiz, one man’s foolishness can lead to another man’s opportunity.
Although it must be said that the latest boxing odds don’t paint a picture of hope for Ruiz, with the 29-year-old at 10/1 to win in New York on June 1st. It’s hard to argue with those odds and in reality, it could be a bloodbath as Ruiz won’t be afraid to lower his hands and invite Joshua onto the front foot in order to land an unlikely knockout blow.

There is a sense of bravado to Ruiz’s boxing but worryingly for him, displaying too much showmanship against Anthony Joshua is bound to end up with him being hit by some heavy artillery and ultimately knocked spark out. The real danger is actually whether Any Ruiz will be the same man that entered the ring once the bout is over.

There only looks like one probable outcome at Madison Square Garden on the 1st of June and that is Anthony Joshua taking his win count to 23. It will be another proud night for Nigeria and Africa as well, as Anthony Oluwafemi Olisnei Joshua OBE carries on his journey to becoming the greatest the world has ever seen.