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The Nigerian Town That Cheers for Anthony Joshua

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to Anthony Joshua’s cousin, Raymond Ajakaye, who resides in Sagamu, Nigeria – the Joshua family’s hometown – boxing runs in their family.

This Friday, the town of Sagamu is set to come to a standstill as hundreds gather to watch the British boxer, Anthony Joshua, take on Cameroon’s Francis Ngannou in a heavyweight match. The community is eager to support Joshua, whom they proudly consider one of their own.

“It runs in the family, we’re all tough people, from my grandad, my uncles and his dad,” Ajakaye tells BBC Sport Africa.

“We fought through a lot. This is where I would think he got the [boxing] gift from.”

Situated close to Lagos in the southwestern part of Nigeria, Sagamu is home to roughly 500,000 residents.

With a demographic leaning towards the younger side, much like the rest of the country, a lot of young people in Sagamu have been inspired by Anthony Joshua’s family roots and his achievements in boxing.

Joshua’s influence has been so significant that the town boasts its very own Anthony Joshua Fan Club, attracting thousands of fans on social media. Additionally, a street has been renamed to celebrate the 34-year-old Olympic gold medalist and two-time world heavyweight champion’s accomplishments.

“The road was called Cinema Road for many years but it was changed by the government in recognition of his [Joshua’s] achievements,” says Ajakaye.

The street not only acts as a gathering spot for fans, but there are also plans underway to construct a gym aimed at discovering the next Anthony Joshua.

Whenever Anthony Joshua steps into the ring, the entire town of Sagamu bursts with excitement. This Friday will be just the same, as both boxing enthusiasts and those who don’t typically follow the sport come together to support their beloved local hero.

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