World heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, has debunked reports that he was denied the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Several reports stated that Joshua, who was virtually unknown then, had reached out to the Nigerian boxing authorities to represent the country at the Beijing Games, but was turned back because he came in late after the trials had been concluded.
The 31-year-old went ahead to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games on home soil, where he won a gold medal.
Speaking with The PUNCH in an exclusive interview, Joshua said he couldn’t remember any incident like that taking place.
According to him, just like Britain gave him the opportunity in 2012, he was sure Nigeria would have given him the same if he was interested in flying the country’s flag.
“I honestly can’t remember, I would have represented Nigeria, I represented Great Britain, I had no problem competing for Great Britain at that time, it was easy.
“I am sure Nigeria would have accepted me as well. I don’t think I have any issue, none that I can remember, but definitely, I would have competed for Nigeria as well. Nigeria would have definitely opened their arms and supported me for sure”.
The unified world heavyweight champion will defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev at the SSE Arena, Wembley Saturday.
Meanwhile, Joshua was able to end his short period in self-isolation on Wednesday morning when his coronavirus test came back negative ahead of his world heavyweight clash with Kubrat Pulev on Saturday.
The 31-year-old entered Matchroom’s bio-secure bubble in London on Tuesday and had to stay in his room for the night before being given the all-clear.
Once Joshua’s test results were confirmed, the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belt-holder made his way to the gym to carry on preparations for Saturday’s bout at Wembley’s SSE Arena.