Long Reign The King!

Long Reign The King!

BY KINGSLEY OYERO

Following the eternal exit of the Akarigbo, the paramount ruler of Remo land in the South West Nigeria late last year,  the traditional tussle for kingship and naming of a new ruler have taken a while. This is unexpected as custom and tradition in Yoruba land demand.

Sagamu is the administrative headquarters of Remo Land. While a ruler for the region is still being awaited, a global king emerged.

That was April 29 as Anthony Olaseni Oluwafemi Joshua, a native of Sagamu in Remo Land of South West Nigeria knocked out 41-year old Ukrainian, Vladimir Klitschko to become the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.
Sagamu is the town where Anthony Joshua’s great grandparents, grandparents and parents grew up. His uncle Benjamin Adedamola Joshua was all joy after the epic showdown.

Early in the fight, Joshua was on the canvas for the first time in his career. He won all other fights by knockout.  But this particular encounter was epic.  He was taken to the 11th round for the first time.

The atmosphere was tense when Anthony Joshua was knocked down. He showed sheer strength and power to overcome the knockdown between the sixth and eighth.

To Anthony Joshua’s uncle, Adedamola, boxing and fight for justice are deeply rooted in the family history.  He told the story of how Anthony’s great grandfather, the late patriarch of the family, Omo-Oba Daniel Adebambo Joshua was once involved in a tussled with three white men and how he defeated them all in the 1950s.

He also alluded to a certain aunt of Anthony and how she used to beat up even men in the past. According to him, Anthony inherited his boxing skills from both of them.
Adebambo’s account also revealed how the patriarch of the family was also a philanthropist who owned lots of landed properties. He donated land for the building of schools, churches and mosques for the development of the community.
According to Adedamola Joshua, sports runs in the family as Anthony’s grandfather was a goalkeeper at Ijebu-Ode Grammar School.  Also, the head of the Joshua clan; Professor Joshua, a retired professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ibadan was once a footballer at Remo Secondary School, Sagamu.

Though British-born, Anthony spent part of his childhood in Nigeria and he attended the prestigious Mayflower School, Ikenne at a time when his paternal grandmother was the matron of the school.

Before the fight, only few members of the community knew an indigene was aiming to conquer the boxing world.

The Sagamu Youth Congress led by Segun Okeowo mobilised and raised awareness for the event. With the assistance of ace sports journalist, Colin Udoh,  a special viewing centre was set up, coincidentally in front of the palace of the late monarch of Remo Land.
The turnout was amazing; from the majority leader of the Ogun State House of assembly to family members, street urchins and people from all works of life turned out en masse to cheer Anthony to victory.

The town cheered as Anthony knocked down Klitschko in the fifth round and there was palpable anxiety when he was knocked down in the sixth by Klitschko. I still remember the moment his uncle Adedamola held me with trembling hands during the seventh round. I could see doubt creeping in but I held him firm and reassured him of victory.
During the epochal round, an over-enthusiastic viewer knocked off the projector as Anthony unleashed a flurry of gut-wrenching punches to knock out the more experienced Ukrainian. Fortunately I was following the fight online and immediately I saw a confirmation of the stoppage of the fight I screamed and the rest is history.
The majority leader of the Ogun State House of Assembly announced that he would raise a motion for the legislature to pass a resolution to rename the Gateway Stadium in Sagamu after Anthony Joshua and also have the street where the family house is located renamed after the boxer.
Anthony Joshua was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to boxing.
Anthony Joshua hasn’t forgotten his roots as he requested to have the Nigerian flag alongside the Union Jack. Long reign the heavyweight king!

 

 

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Dr. 'Tunde "Tee" Akinbinu

    This is such a nice piece. It presents another version of the historical title-accumulating bout of the Anglo-Nigerian.

    Great narration by Kingsley Oyero of Radio Continental, Lagos on this excellent website as run by one of Nigeria’s best in the sports journalism field, Chief Kunle Solaja.

    Reply

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