The Many Potentials in Anthony Joshua

Nigeria’s sports sector may have ignored Anthony Joshua but Nigerians did not and certainly I did not. Recall that Silverbird honored him at Man of the Year two years ago.

Today, we are all very proud of Anthony after his stunning defeat of Wladimir Klitschko.

The whole world is celebrating this young man with former world heavy weight champion, Mike Tyson saying Joshua “has changed boxing”.
Joshua may well be the most popular man in world sport for the next few months, but here is the thing, the world media are playing up Anthony Joshua as a British man.

Yes, Britain did a lot for him, and probably more than Nigeria did, but Nigeria must put all that behind and now embrace Joshua.

I had said that he should be congratulated by the government and invited to the Presidential Villa and made an ambassador for brand Nigeria and I thank God that two days after I made that call, the minister of information congratulated Joshua and said the federal government will invite him.

Irrespective of what happened in the past, as a nation we must reclaim Anthony Joshua and show him that we are proud of him and then promote him to the world as the epitome of Nigeria’s youth.

The federal government can arrange a global tour for Anthony Joshua and get Nollywood stars and our music stars to join him.

They should arrange for him to meet captains of industry such as Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Tony Elumelu and Jim Ovia.

This would spotlight Nigeria’s culture and economy to the world.

Believe it or not, by associating with this brilliant young man, Nigeria can improve her image much more than the billions to be spent on our embassies and high commissions worldwide.

If we as a nation refuse or neglect to embrace Joshua with eagerly open arms, the UK will not. They will celebrate him, project him and promote him and while they are doing that, Joshua will also celebrate the UK, project UK and promote UK.

The young man obviously thirsts for Nigeria and Africa. He even has a tattoo of Africa with Nigeria outlined on his right upper arm. The young man is passing on a subliminal message. He is still open to Nigeria despite the snub he got from our sport sector.

The young man has such a compelling story that we can use to sell him and Nigeria. From a bricklayer in London, he overcame an arrest for dealing cannabis, reinventing himself as an amateur boxer and he became an Olympic champion and now the heavy weight champion of the world. This is a story of the sheer Nigerian grit that has seen Nigerians rise to the top all over the world. With Joshua, we can show the world that there is much, much more to Nigeria than internet scams, corruption and terrorism.

In fact, Nigeria is even late in the game. We should have embraced Joshua as far back as 2012 after he won the Olympic Gold medal for Britain. The Queen of England even awarded him an MBE! Do you know what it takes to earn an MBE? But better late than never! We must begin to show him that east or west, home is best and home is Nigeria, the country tattooed on his right arm!

One thing we have to realize is that England wants Anthony Joshua but Nigeria needs him. Ironically, he does not need Nigeria so Nigeria must make him want us.
Nigerian must not underestimate the big difference a single individual can make. Today, sports contributes 2 per cent of Jamaica’s economy chiefly because of Usain Bolt. That is no mean achievement.

And Usain Bolt is not just affecting the Jamaican sports industry. Jamaica has witnessed a steady growth in tourist visitors with an increase of 8 per cent in one year alone. The over three million people visiting Jamaica are not just coming because of reggae music, they are coming because Jamaica is synonymous with Usain Bolt. And this is important to Jamaica because the demand for sugar, perhaps the mainstay of their economy, has been steadily decreasing worldwide. Does that sound familiar? Do I hear somebody say something about crude oil?
Usain Bolt also brings jobs to Jamaica in other ways. According to Damon McLean, a representative of the Jamaican sports sector, “All the ads that Bolt does – he tries to do them in Jamaica and that’s unlike everyone else because a lot of producers will try to shoot elsewhere. Gatorade and Puma have to shoot here and give jobs to people.”

Now, remove Usain Bolt’s name and insert the name Anthony Joshua. Do the same thing with Jamaica and insert Nigeria. Imagine the possibilities! In fact, Jamaican officials say that in terms of influence, the only person that can match Bolt is Bob Marley.

We have Wole Soyinka and we should thank God for giving him to us. But for too long, we have depended on his fame and international goodwill. I played my part and helped Nigeria discover Agbani Darego and she became the first native African to win Miss World. But that was sixteen years ago. Nigeria needs another Soyinka.

We need a new Agbani. And as one who has spent his entire life finding and developing talent, I make bold to say that Joshua is just what the doctor ordered!
He is in love with Nigeria. He did not tattoo the map of Europe or the UK on his arm. He chose Africa and Nigeria for that honour.

Ninety thousand people paid top pound sterling to watch Joshua beat up Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium. Ask yourself what would happen if Joshua insists that his April 2018 fight with Tyson Fury holds at the National Stadium Abuja or the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium Uyo.

It is very possible! Muhammad Ali and Don King, both of whom I knew personally, pulled it off with The Rumble in the Jungle in 1974. I tell you it is possible!

Imagine tens of thousands of boxing fans trooping to Nigeria. It can kick start our tourism industry. Uyo and Calabar are as beautiful as many of the world’s top rated tropical holiday destinations, but nobody knows about them. Joshua could be the key to shining an international spotlight on these cities.

But I hope my words will not fall on deaf ears. I hope those in charge will pay heed. Nigeria has an opportunity here and we must remember that this world offers no guarantees, it only offers opportunity!

• Murray-Bruce is the founder of the Silverbird Entertainment Group and the Senator representing Bayelsa East in the National Assembly

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22 replies

  1. Dear Ben

    Great article about Johsua and how his victory can be used to good effect to promote a positive message about Nigeria

    I think in the run-up to the UK election it would be good to build on this with a broader message about how Nigeria should look to do a country-to-country trade deal with the UK given Brexit

    There is already talk in the UK press about our need to secure a BAFTA (Big Ambitious Free Trade Agreement) and Nigeria has been mentioned as one possible example

    I think you should be leading a call for this from the Nigerian side (also event the term BAFTA suits your entertainment and film background!)

    This would then help position you ahead of meeting the Conservative Party leadership on July 5th

    Can you let me know who to invoice for the cost of the table at the event as we need to book it?

    thanks

    Michael

    Michael Moszynski
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  2. Thank you very much. God almighty will bless you for us. I see one day you become the president of Nigeria. thank once again.

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  3. Nigeria never lacked good ideas, neither had it lacked great men with great ideas, nor the resources to actualize the ideas. What Nigeria has been lacking is good men with political will, to do what is right and needful. This is majorly why brilliant youths of the south and eastern Nigeria has been calling for #Biafrexit. God bless you sir, distinguished senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, senator Ben Murray Bruce.

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    • Nzekwe please get your Geo-political zone correct when stressing you sentiment in regards to #biafrexit (“south and east”??) To be honest I think you can only talk for the southeast mate, as for the southsouth I don’t think 50% share your sentiment (Rivers and Bayelsa) as for the southwest a few might share emphaty but ofcourse they got their own agenda

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  4. Sir I think Nigeria should focus and develop young talents like myself. I have good potentials in boxing, but check out our boxing facilities especially in rivers state?.
    Lets try and develop what we have now instead of trying to reap from where we didn’t sow.

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  5. a prophet is never honour in his town…His tattoo means he knows where he’s coming from “African” if he comes back you guys”government” ‘ll still neglet him

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  6. Nigeria rejected his call, now​ you guys want to call him because he is successful? No way, he should keep his head low and enjoy his sport in Britain. Nigeria would kill his career

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  7. Thank you Senator Bensbruce for this commentry.I pray that those in authority would do as you have suggessted.We must as a people think outside the box and diversify our economy.

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  8. Thank you Senator Ben for finding time to write this exceptional post. While we still have the opportunity, there are still many talented Nigerians across various sectors, waiting to be discovered.

    Someone once said, ‘Dreams never come true in this part of the world.’

    To prove that the statement above is wrong, it is therefore important that we discover and retain talents that are ours before they slip past our fingers.

    This article makes a timely call everyone should heed. Again, we see your passion for developing talents among Nigerian youths. We won’t forget in a hurry. God bless you.

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  9. GOOD LUCK with that.

    Let me begin by saying this to remind us. “You know your true friends when things are not going well for you”.

    Well, it’s normal for everyone to relate with success and achievements. No doubt about it, Anthony Joshua is a Nigerian to the core. He wanted to make a career out of Boxing, he didn’t turn or go anywhere else but to begin, he tried to begin at home ‘Nigeria’. But, what was the response given to him? It’s such a shame. A young talented man as Anthony Joshua asked for support and sponsorship to represent his home ‘Nigeria’ in boxing but he was rejected, written off and dumped aside for his talent to waste and die. No one could come up to support or sponsor him.

    Long story short, the young man found himself in Britain, he was made citizen, he was accepted in a foreign land with the same talent he was rejected of at home ‘Nigeria’. Now he’s a champion, Nigeria is singing his praise and making a whole lot of noise about Anthony Joshua. When he was struggling, no one remembered that this guy needs to be supported from home. You just take a minute to reflect or imagine what it would have been like for Nigeria if he had become a champion not as a citizen of Britain but fully as a Nigerian. That’s just what we lack in Nigeria. We don’t have leaders who think about the future of the country, they only think about the now and how to enrich their pockets and numerous bank accounts. That is why Nigeria will keep moving backwards and not forward. Now the same people who rejected, dejected and abandoned this man is planning on inviting him to the Presidential Villa for a dinner, can you imagine? It is now you remember that there are captains of industries Aliko Dangote and the likes you want to take him to pay a visit to. My question still remains, where were all this ‘captains’ when this man needed a little push? Were they sleeping at that time or they and including the Nigerian government were too deaf and blind that they couldn’t hear and see when Anthony Joshua was calling. The truth that should be accepted here is this, Anthony Joshua has slipped off from Nigeria as a whole. The best thing is to learn from that and begin to look inward. There are many Nigerians with great talents and giftings out there in the streets, in the slumps, the ghettos etc, who desperately needs the attention Anthony Joshua couldn’t get some years ago. AWAKE FROM YOUR SLUMBER OH NIGERIA.

    Thousands of youths all over Nigeria are passing out if ‘National Youth Service Corp’ wondering what next. Why? Because the Nigeria system is crashing everyday and there seems to be no hope for the youths. Industries are sacking hundreds of people everyday, these ones that are being sacked are adding up to the numbers of youth roaming the streets all over the nation without a job. In this country you must have at least five years of work experience to get a job. Now, this is an advantage those that have been on a job for close to ten years and now sacked have over the just or two to three years graduated youth that is still looking for a job. How do we move forward? Okay, I won’t dwell so much on this.

    As children, while growing up, there is a song we learnt. A part of it says, we are the leaders of tomorrow. I keep asking, when will this dream ever come to a reality?

    Well, we’ll keep praying for Nigeria and the leaders in government or wherever who have refused to let this dream we’ve had since childhood come to pass and make this country a better place.

    My prayer is simple if you care and love this country Nigeria you can join me.

    Prayer:
    ~Any man or woman who is meant to be there should remain, and any man or woman who is not suppose to be there and has refused to leave God should kill them in Jesus name, AMEN.

    ~God should raise a men and women after His own heart and empower them to lead this nation Nigeria according to his will and purpose in Jesus name, AMEN.

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    • *Get your facts right, he was born in England to a Nigerian mother and a mixed race Father (Nigerian and Irish) and she did bring him and his siblings back to Nigeria for abit and he was put in a boarding school but after 2 or 3 years she moved her family back to the UK again, He only came to get sponsor around the time of Olympic when he obviously got refused ( shame on our sport ministry) hence why he was welcome to represent Queen and country (Great Britain) and the rest is history!!!!!

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  10. I AM HAPPY FOR JOSHUA BUT AM NOT HAPPY FOR NIGERIA AND HER POOR DISPOSITION TO OUR TOURISM SECTOR. I HAVE WRITTEN TO YOU SENATOR BEN BRUCE ON HOW WE CAN DEVELOPE OUR TOURISM SECTOR THROUGH TOURISM I EDUCATION AND COMPETITIONS AMONG SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA.I HAVE ALSO BROUGHT PROPOSAL TO YOUR OFFICE IN LAGOS AND ABUJA. I HAVE CALLED ONE OF YOUR P.A,AN IGBO GUY TO HELP IN BOOKING APOINTMENT TO MEET WITH YOU AND HE WAS RUDE TO ME. MY PROPOSAL IS STILL LAYING WASTE IN YOUR OFFICE IN ABUJA. I GAVE THEM TO ONE SLIM SECRETERY WHO PROMISED TO MAKE SURE SHE DISCUSSES IT WITH YOU AND GET BACK TO ME BUT NEVER DID. WE MUST NOT KEEP CALLING IMAGINARY GOVERNMENT.YOU ARE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT.

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  11. it quit fine as it is said, the major problem of this country is politics every sector in Nigeria has been politised that may people to look down on other people’s talent expecially when they dont have any godfather

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  12. That’s Nigeria for us all..talent and potentials murderers…. Go make, brand and top yourself then u will be known..

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  13. koddos to joshua…come back home bro…uk only make money and firm with you, the dont care about you…some of your brother’s that choose uk over home(nigeria) was also negleted..cole, agbolaho and few other’s to mention,even does who is currently playing for there national team(DELE ALI-ROSE BARKLEY etc)…think about it A.J. Nigerians love you…do these because of us,not the government. [we share same tattoo] Nigeria-Africa.

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  14. An Excellent take on rebranding Nigeria using our well accomplished international stars.

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  15. We are very proud of you sir. May God grant you long life and good health to continue in this your good work.

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  16. Reblogged this on rhaelkapna and commented:
    Has anybody ever thought about Investing in Anthony Joshua

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