The British born heavyweight champion of Nigerian roots, took the commonwealth center stage at Westminster Abbey, in a service that was graced by the royal family. 

The 30-year-old professional boxer has both Nigerian and English ancestry. His Mum is Nigerian, while his Dad is of Nigerian and Irish heritage. He was born in Britain but spent some part of his early life in Nigeria as a boarding school student at Mayflower School, Ikenne. He is an Olympic heavyweight champion, a Commonwealth heavyweight champion, and now, a unified heavyweight champion.

Anthony Joshua was invited to speak on Commonwealth Day, and in a very insightful and touching way, Joshua paid homage to both his Commonwealth and Nigerian heritage. There’s no better way to celebrate diversity in a speech.

The undisputed champion said in his speech;

“My name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, and, like many of you here, I’m a child of the Commonwealth.

“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.

“These days, we hear so much about division and difference that some might be tempted to see that as a bad thing.

“But on the contrary, it’s 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.”

“We need to strive harder collectively to create unity.”

Joshua used a famous Nigerian proverb to drive home his point, talking about the power of unity in the face of challenges. He said, “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.” He said

“So here’s to fish and chips, egusi soup and pounded yam; to the UK and Nigeria, and the children of the Commonwealth.” He concluded.

You can say Joshua sold the delicious Nigerian staple dish to the royal family if you like, bottom line; he is proud of his African heritage, and we love that he is, and hope that all Africans in the diaspora do the same.


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