Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has thanked World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, who regained his belts Saturday night in a rematch with Mexican Andy Ruiz Jnr, for bringing joy to Nigerians.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari, while congratulating Joshua, noted that his victory brought joy to millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who had rooted for him to regain the titles he lost about six months ago.
“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,” he said.
President wished Joshua well as he seeks to bring more glory to Nigeria and to the boxing profession.
Meanwhile, Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also thanked the Nigerian-born boxer for reclaiming his World Heavyweight titles.
In a statement on Sunday by NIDCOM Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, she said that the victory over the Mexican was not only a thing of pride to Nigerians, but to Africa as a whole.
“I congratulate you on this wonderful feat, for winning this tense but historical fight.
“We are truly proud of you and urge you to continue to use your professional prowess to extol the virtues of Nigerian heritage.
“Your shinning beacon serves as inspiration to the youth of Nigeria.
“Your victory is also a testimony to the fact that Nigerians are great people, contributing in many ways to the development of the country and the continent as a whole,” Dabiri-Erewa stated.
She noted with satisfaction that in spite of the challenges being faced by Joshua in his career, he had remained determined, focused and did not allow that to lure him into any form of criminality or depression.
Joshua became a two-time world heavyweight champion with a unanimous points of 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109 victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in a tense rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua cut his opponent in round one and dominated the fight throughout.
Six months on from the night Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked seeing his career left in tatters for a second defeat before over 14,000 spectators at Diriyah Arena, but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain.
Joshua, 30, was born in Watford to Yoruba parents from Southwest Nigeria, making his professional debut together with fellow Nigerian boxer Ben Ileyemi in 2013
He now joins a small cluster of men, which includes Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Floyd Patterson, to have reclaimed the world heavyweight title.
Joshua was a bricklayer before taking up boxing full-time. He also excelled at football and athletics and broke a nine-year-old 100-metre record with a time of 11.6 seconds.