Anthony Joshua: Fighting for Britain but fueled by Nigeria (by Chibundu Onuzo)

Joshua’s muscles were not grown on fish and chips alone. Credit: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua’s middle name is Oluwafemi. To those in the know, no other proof of his Nigerian heritage is needed: Femi is a common Yoruba name. There is also a map of Africa tattooed on one of Joshua’s large biceps, in which the outline of Nigeria is fetchingly highlighted.

Joshua once attributed his success to his frequent ingestion of pounded yam and egusi soup, a popular Nigerian dish. He said it with a laugh, but nothing could be more serious. Those muscles were not grown on fish and chips alone. (Ask the Star Wars actor John Boyega, another muscular eater of pounded yam and egusi.)

Alas, Joshua does not box under Nigerian colours because the country’s sporting officials failed to recognise his talent. In 2008 he attempted to box for Nigeria in the Olympics but was rejected. My nation’s loss, Britain’s gain.

Read more: Anthony Joshua: fighting for Britain but fuelled by Nigeria | Chibundu Onuzo | Opinion | The Guardian