World boxing champion Anthony Joshua’s family in Sagamu, Ogun State, and youths in the town are in jubilant mood after Joshua, whose parents are from Sagamu, defeated New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in their unification fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday, saying the special prayers they organised for the boxer’s victory worked.
Joshua defeated Parker by unanimous decision after 12 rounds to add Parker’s WBO heavyweight title to his collection. The undefeated 28-year-old now has three major titles and one minor. He holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
For Saturday’s fight, Parker attracted the attention of fans in Samoa, where his parents were born and he has a chieftaincy title while Joshua had the backing of fans in Nigeria.
Joshua’s uncle Adedamola told our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday that the boxer’s success in Saturday’s fight was as a result of their prayers for him.
“We are very happy that our prayers were answered. We know that with this win now, it is going to get tougher because Anthony is on the road to do what no one has done in the category he boxes in (the heavyweight division),” he said.
“The family is grateful to the whole Sagamu people, who came out to watch the fight and supported him on Saturday. We knew that the supporters of his opponents would also be praying for him to win. But we are excited that God answered our own prayers and Anthony won the fight.”
Adedamola described the fight as the toughest his nephew had fought in recent times, saying they never feared he could lose the bout despite its intensity.
He said, “The fight was very tough. In the first and second rounds, Anthony was beaten but he recovered and went on to win. We never doubted that he would win even when a blow caught him on the throat and made him to struggle a bit. We trusted in the power of our prayers and we were not disappointed. The family will keep praying for him to succeed because he is a pride to us.”
Spokesman for the Sagamu Youths Congress Ayodele Osho said, “Victory comes after a lot of hard work but there is also the element of luck and the power of prayers. We believe in answered prayers and we believe prayers assisted Joshua to get the win over Parker because the fight could have gone either way.
“The SYC mobilised a lot of people and we had a large crowd watching the fight and cheering him on. The win is good and we will continue to support him anytime he has a fight because he is a good ambassador of Sagamu.”
Meanwhile, the member representing the Sagamu 1 state constituency at the Ogun State House of Assembly Yinka Mafe has told our correspondent that Joshua would visit the state anytime soon.
He said, “We reached an agreement with Joshua’s management team for him to visit Ogun State after the Parker fight. This victory will help to fast track the visit and anytime soon, he will come to Nigeria.”