Boxing: Family plans special celebration for Joshua

One of Anthony Joshua’s uncles, Adedamola Joshua, has disclosed that the family is preparing for a  special celebration in honour of the new  world  heavyweight boxing champion.

The 27-year-old Joshua, whose father comes from Sagamu, on Saturday beat veteran boxer, Vladimir Klitschko, in the 11th round of their clash in London.

Adedamola, who spoke with our correspondent at the Joshua family house in Sagamu, Ogun State, on Tuesday, said the British-born Nigerian pugilist  comes from a united family.

He said,  “The family as a whole is proud of Anthony’s achievements and we are very glad to be his relatives. We celebrated his victory and there are other plans for a bigger celebration. It is really exciting to have one of our own creating such history in the world. At that age to have 19 fights and not lost any with all of them ending in knockouts is commendable,” Adedamola, who is in his late fifties, said.

“Our family didn’t just identify with him because of his victory against Klitschko. We have been keeping a tab on his growth and successes despite the fact that he is away from home.”

Speaking further, Adedamola said boxing is a tradition in the family, adding that Joshua’s  grandfather once used his boxing skills to outwit three white men years ago.

“Anthony actually has boxing running in his blood because it is a family tradition. His grandfather Olaseni Joshua, after whom he was so named, was also a boxer.

“He  took on three white men in the UK. He had married Robert’s (Anthony’s father) mother and they (white men) couldn’t understand why a white woman would prefer a Nigerian to them. Something led to another and he fought and beat them up alone. The family isn’t violent but we defend ourselves when it is needed.”

Adedamola said Anthony’s father pays regular visits to the country and the family house, which is located on Akarigbo Road, Sagamu. He welcomed the idea of the state government’s plan to  honour the boxer.

He said, “As a close family, we hold regular meetings involving  members both at home and abroad. Anthony’s father comes home regularly – up to six times a year. He was home for some days but left just four days to his son’s fight with Klitschko.

“Anthony’s humility is another hallmark of the family. We are a royal family and have achieved a lot in Sagamu but pride is not what we exhibit.”

He added, “A large part of the street called Cinema Road belongs to our family and is very germane to our history. If the government wants to name it after Anthony Joshua, we welcome it and we will give them the support needed to make it a reality.”

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