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Anthony Joshua Celebrates His Nigerian Heritage In Commonwealth Day Speech

Anthony Joshua At Westminster Abbey in celebration of Commonwealth Day | Photo: Twitter

Heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua took centre stage on Commonwealth Day which was celebrated at the Westminster Abbey and attended by members of the British Royal Family.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle were also in attendance in what was their final official appearance as senior royals.

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Born Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua in Watford, the pro boxer has Nigerian roots and spent part of his childhood in the country. His connection to his Yoruba heritage has never been in doubt and he channels his Nigerianness even on his fight nights.

He once said in an interview that “growing up in my household was like Nigeria when you come home. It’s culture and food. My parents lived there and grew up there, so they know the culture.”

On the nights he reclaimed his boxing titles from Andy Ruiz, Joshua walked into the ring to the song of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti.

“I was born in Watford and my heritage is Nigerian. I come from the Yoruba people, who are the largest and some might say the loudest ethnic group in all of Africa. I’m proudly Nigerian and proudly British.

It is fitting that Joshua was selected to speak on Commonwealth Day. British by birth and Nigerian by heritage, AJ, he is a Commonwealth child through and through.

The heavyweight boxing champion used his speech to canvass for unity,  noting that togetherness is”a beautiful thing”.

“A thing to be celebrated and cherished, and a great source of peace and stability.

“I feel opportunity should be there for the taking along with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, regardless of one’s background.

“It takes a village to raise a child. And in the same vein, it takes a whole community to act and stand together to tackle some of the challenges we are confronted with today.

To round off his speech, Joshua summed his identity as a Briton and a Nigerian:

“So here’s to fish and chips, egusi soup and pounded yam.

“To the UK and Nigeria, and the children of the Commonwealth.”

He will defend his three world titles against Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.

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