Who Is The Last Nigerian Boxer Standing?

Who Is The Last Nigerian Boxer Standing?

In the space of two weeks, three Nigerian boxers lost their world heavyweight title fights. Scratch that. A Nigerian and two other boxers with Nigerian heritage lost their world title fights.

How does that even sound? How does it even look to the eyes? Well, no matter from whatever angle you choose to see it, it is definitely what it is.

First to lose in late September was Anthony Joshua who was left stunned by Oleksandr Usyk in front of 67,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua, who weighed in at 17th 2lbs for the fight, failed to defend his WBA, IBF and WBO titles as Usyk, became the new unified heavyweight world champion.

Born Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, OBE (born 15 October 1989) the 31-year-old professional boxer is a two-time former unified world heavyweight champion, having held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles from December 2019 to September 2021 and previously between 2016 and June 2019.

At the regional level, he held the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles from 2015 to 2016.

Joshua is very proud of his Nigerian heritage, with the most obvious sign being his tattoo of Africa, with Nigeria outlined, on his right shoulder.

The Nigerian flag is always proudly and prominently displayed alongside the Union Jack in the ring during his fights.

Joshua was born to Nigerian parents. He however has an Irish grandmother.

On 10th October, we all woke to the news that not one but two of our Nigerian boxers had lost their world boxing heavyweight bouts.

Two in a single night. One was an undercard while the other was the main bout.

The first to go down was Efe Ajagba. Name surely not popular but here is a Nigerian boxer through and through.

A glance at Wikipedia and you are confronted with all you need to know about the Nigerian pugilist.

“Efe Ajagba (born 22 April 1994) is a Nigerian professional boxer who holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history after his opponent was disqualified for leaving the ring one second after the opening bell. As an amateur, he won a gold medal at the 2015 African Games and bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

The 27-year-old who hails from Ughelli, Delta State, turned professional after representing Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

With eyes on the world title, Efe had built up a 15-match unbeaten record with 12 knockouts to his credit but found a technically superior Frank Sanchez too formidable an opponent, as the Cuban handed the Nigerian his first professional career defeat on the night.

Ajagba who survived the entire duration of the fight to the tenth round lost to Sanchez who proved to be a stronger fighter.

The fight, “tagged the battle of the undefeated”, was an undercard event leading to the heavyweight title trilogy showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

According to the commentators, it was a one-sided fight where “Sanchez gave Ajagba a boxing lesson. It was a teacher-student fight.”

By unanimous decision, Frank Sanchez, the Cuban Flash, was declared the winner.

Then the third Nigerian. Wait for it, Deontey Wilder.

I am so sure you are having a good laugh right now. Well, I wouldn’t blame you but maybe you should first read this;

A couple of months back, Deontay Wilder, an American professional boxer, who held the WBC heavyweight title from 2015 to 2020, revealed that he is from Edo State. The ex-heavyweight boxing champion brought the revelation to light in a now-viral interview while reflecting on his career and plans.

In the video, the 35-year-old boxer disclosed that he would visit Nigeria after completing what he is currently working on to learn more about his culture.

“My tribe is the Edo tribe in Nigeria. I want to go back and learn more about my culture and information about things about me. Once I’m done with what I’m doing, I’m going back to see my tribe, Edo.

“I want to see my culture and my ancestors and learn a lot of things. We all have lots of things that we are connected to that we know nothing about. I’ll love to go there and do research about my roots and my tribe,” he revealed.

Born to a family of preachers in Alabama, Wilder started his boxing career at 20 and began to pull the weight of fame shortly after. He snatched a bronze medal as an amateur in the heavyweight division at the 2008 Olympics, a feat that earned him the nickname “The Bronze Bomber”.

The US boxer enjoyed a five-year reign as the WBC heavyweight champion before losing the prestigious belt to Tyson Fury in February 2020.

Wilder’s revelation came at about the same time Kamaru Usman, UFC welterweight champion, who left Nigeria at eight, visited his hometown in Edo.

Well, the bronze bomber, fighting in red, the colour of Edo, lost yet again to Tyson Fury, suffering an 11th round knockout to concede superiority to the British Fighter.

We have seen Henry Akinwande, we have seen Samuel Peter, all becoming world champions at a time, we will be waiting for the next one to rule the world on our behalf.


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