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Anthony Joshua, heavyweight champion, eager to defend titles in Nigeria

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Two-time world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua has revealed his intention to defend his world heavyweight title belts in Nigeria. The British/Nigerian pugilist disclosed this following his rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jnr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Further, Anthony Joshua, who was born of Nigerian parents, has revealed his desire to make this a reality soon. Equally important, Anthony Joshua has disclosed that his dream of staging a fight in Nigeria; began after a visit to the country this year.

If this comes to light, it would be the first world championship heavyweight fight on the continent outside South Africa; since the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire in 1974 between two boxing greats, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

“People had been telling me I should go back for ages. It was crazy because they don’t have 24-hour electricity but they still know me and support me.

Going back home to Nigeria was one of the best things I’ve done, says Anthony Joshua

“I went to the ghettos of the ghettos where it’s not all about egos and beef; it’s about people who are hungry to survive. It was one of the best things I’ve done. Africa’s rooting for me for sure, so I would definitely love to fight out there.”

Joshua’s immediate fight plans include a return to London; possibly at the home of Tottenham Hotspur; to defend his titles against either the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev or the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, However, his promoter, Eddie Hearn, has received numerous offers to stage future bouts elsewhere, including Africa.

Joshua’s parents are both of Nigerian descent. Also, he had made a bid to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Olympics. However, he was turned down by boxing officials.

Following his rematch victory over Andy Ruiz; President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a congratulatory message to Anthony Joshua. The message read in part; “The downfall of a man is truly not the end of his life. There’s always another, and better day. This is a lesson we must all learn from you as a country.”

Incidentally, Anthony Joshua has a cousin, Ben Ileyemi, who is also a professional boxer. The pair made their professional debuts together in 2013.

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Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola, loses mother to coronavirus

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Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, has lost his mother to the coronavirus.

Dolors Sala Carrio passed away in Barcelona, aged 82.

In a statement on Twitter, the English club said: “The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep’s mother Dolors Sala Carrió in Manresa, Barcelona after contracting coronavirus. She was 82 years old.

“Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends.”

Dolors was married to Pep’s father, Valenti, and was also mother to the Man City boss’s two older sisters and younger brother Pere, a football agent.

She saw Pep enjoy a hugely successful playing career, mostly with Barcelona, where he won six Spanish titles and the European Cup.

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COVID-19: Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev match to be postponed

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The chaos causes by the Convid-19 virus may affect the Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev

The match could be delayed until July due to the world pandemic disease, promoter Eddie Hearn said on Tuesday.

Joshua is due to fight Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.

But the British star could be forced to give up that date if Tottenham need the ground for a potential extension of the Premier League campaign.

All top-flight football matches have been suspended until early April at the earliest due to the pandemic, causing speculation that the season will be finished in the summer.

Euro 2020 has been pushed back a year to 2021, which has opened up room in the schedule to play domestic matches in June and July if possible.

Hearn, whose Matchroom organisation earlier confirmed the postponement of all boxing events in March and April, has dismissed the prospect of any of his major bouts being staged behind closed doors.

Referring to Joshua’s June 20 date, Hearn told Sky Sports News: “At the moment it’s still in place.

“Obviously with the news of the Euros being cancelled and the possible extension of the Premier League season, Spurs may need that stadium in June.

“We do have an option to run that fight in July as well at the same stadium. Everything now is really a case-by-case situation and a day-by-day situation of trying to think on your feet.

“June 20 is a long time away. It’s still in our plans and we have been speaking to Tottenham to make sure we’re all on the same page and that we know we have the same strategy moving forward.”

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Tears Roll in as Nasarawa United player, slumps, dies during match

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Late Chieneme Martins

It’s being a harvest of tears as Chieneme Martins of Nasarawa United FC on Sunday, slumped and died during the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match day 23 in Lafia.

According to reports, Martins slumped at the center of the pitch while a match between Nasarawa United and Katsina United was ongoing.

Immediately that happened, the medics rushed to the pitch to try and resuscitate him but all efforts to do that failed.

Also a Peugeot 406 ambulance stationed at the match venue refused to start but the governor’s press crew bus was used to convey him to the hospital but he was already died before he was taken off the pitch, a source said.

Prior to his death, Martins had played for FC Abuja, Gabros, then FC Ifeanyi Ubah before he joined Nasarawa United.

Nasarawa United’s 3-0 win over visiting Katsina side was overshadowed by Martins death as the players, coaches and officials of the club cried profusely after the final whistle.

It would be recalled that a similar incident had occurred in 1992, when Samuel Okwaraji slumped and died during a World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos.

Netizens have however come hard on the government and management of the league, calling for the NPFL to be scrapped until the right amenities are put in place to avoided future occurrence of such a sad incident.

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