Boxing legend Jeremiah Okorodudu claims the Brit wanted to compete at trials for 2008 – and his snub is still a sore point
NIGERIA boxing chiefs have claimed Anthony Joshua was keen to represent them at Beijing 2008 but was told ‘he wasn’t good enough’.
AJ was born in Watford to Nigerian parents in 1989 and spent some of his early years in the West African country.
He returned to Hertfordshire halfway through Year 7 and went on to win Olympic gold for Britain in 2012.
Keep up to date with ALL the boxing news
But ahead of last night’s heavyweight blockbuster against Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley, it was claimed he wanted to represent the country of his mum and dad.
Nigerian boxing legend Jeremiah Okorodudu, speaking at the National Stadium in Lagos, told SunSport: “Joshua was in Nigeria once to connect with his roots and I think that was in 2007.
“He wanted a chance to compete for trials ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifiers, but he was denied and not given a chance.
“Disappointed, he went back to England to represent Great Britain.
“He went on to win a gold that could have been a first for Nigeria at the Olympics.
“If only they had allowed him to compete for Nigeria, that gold would have been a Nigerian gold and not Great Britain’s.”
Joshua, 27, went into the London Games as a world silver medallist and in the final he won Olympic gold against reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle on a countback — after tying 18-18 on points.
Nigeria’s national boxing instructor Adegboyega Adeniji-Adele was visibly upset when he recalled the situation with AJ.
He declared that those responsible for the loss of Joshua to Team GB should be investigated.
OH MY JOSH
Anthony Joshua pulls off one of the best win in British boxing history after stopping Klitschko in round 11
BISH, BASH, JOSH
Anthony Joshua knocks out Wladimir Klitschko in 11th round in one of the greatest fights of all time to leave 90,000 fans on their feet at Wembley
NOT JOSHING AROUND
When is Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko, how can I get tickets and can I watch it on TV?
IN KLITSCH’S CLUTCH
Meet Wladimir Klitschko’s stunning actress fiancee Hayden Panettiere who watches every fight
Tickets still available for Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko… but prices reach a whopping £8,995
Bungling organisers put in official programme Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko is from KAZAKHSTAN ahead of Anthony Joshua mega-fight
AJ in flames
Anthony Joshua steals the show before mega fight against Wladimir Klitschko with epic entrance
Anthony Joshua stills lives at home with his mum in council flat and she makes him packed lunches
‘I’m going to hurt you’
Tony Bellew claims Anthony Joshua threatened Wladimir Klitschko away from mics
BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS
Sky Sports’ stunning new face of boxing Anna Woolhouse sends Twitter into meltdown
Anthony Joshua reveals why he has African symbol and ‘wisdom’ tattoed on his body ahead of world title mega-fight
From Lennox Lewis to Tyson Fury – boxing legends give their verdicts on Joshua vs Klitschko
‘the real deal’
Anthony Joshua knocks out Wladimir Klitschko in one of the biggest victories… Twitter reacts
wlad the impaler
Mike Tyson fears Wladimir Klitschko could shock ‘beast’ Anthony Joshua in Wembley showdown
When was Wladimir Klitschko last knocked out, as he prepares for Anthony Joshua showdown?
What will Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko do if it rains at Wembley Stadium during the fight?
Swing and a miss
Amir Khan may be a former boxing world champion.. but he is utterly useless at football
Adeniji-Adele explained: “Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua is his name and his family come from Ogun State in Nigeria. When he visited, his intention was to represent Nigeria at the Olympics but he was denied in the trials.
“He had no other option than to go to Britain.
“It’s Nigeria’s loss, Britain’s gain.
“Personally, I feel sad that they let him go and those people should be made to explain why it was impossible to give him a chance.”
Ex-Commonwealth and African light-welterweight champion Obisia Nwankpa, now a top boxing official in the country, insists Joshua was just not good enough and the boxer picked ahead of him was better.
He added: “We made the right call then, because he wasn’t good enough and we picked someone who was much better.”