Coach Obisia Nwankpa has thrown light on the circumstances surrounding the inability of Nigeria to take Joshua Anthony to Olympics despite the IBF and WBC champion declaring his interests on two occasions.
Coach Nwankpa who has received the highest knocks over the country’s failure to feature Joshua in Nigeria’s boxing team to Beijing 2008 Olympics and London 2012 Olympics said his attackers are not fair to him.
“I was surprised some Nigerians are making such accusation against me. What happened was that Joshua actually contacted us that he wanted to represent Nigeria at Beijing Olympics Games. We agreed that he should come down to Nigeria to join other boxers in our camp so that we could examine him properly. But he refused. And as at that time, we had three good boxers in the heavyweight category, who were doing very well. I doubt if Joshua could have won a medal for Nigeria at that time. So, it is wrong for anyone to say that we frustrated Joshua from representing Nigeria,” the former boxer turned coach told newsmen.
Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua on Saturday night retained his IBF world title and added the WBC ‘super’ belt title when he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round at the Wembley Stadium, London.
Born in Watford to a Nigerian mother and a British father of Nigerian and Irish descent in 1989, Joshua spent part of his early years in Nigeria. His cousin is fellow unbeaten professional boxer Ben lleyemi.