The Federal Government of Nigeria says it will soon invite Anthony Joshua, the newly-crowned unified World Heavyweight Boxing Champion to the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.
He said the government had congratulated Joshua, the British professional boxer of Nigerian descent, who last week defeated Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko to become the unified World Heavyweight Champion.
Mr. Mohammed said Nigeria was proud to be associated with the new 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.
He added that the boxer in the interview, also listed the secret of his success as pounded yam, eba and egusi – all Nigerian cuisine.
The minister hailed Joshua for his humility, despite his success in boxing.
He also extolled 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.