“People have this perception that Nigeria is a place that makes fire by rubbing twigs together. It’s a very powerful economy with a huge middle-class sector and actually it’s a country that has a number of major events already – particularly pop music concerts.
“The infrastructure is there. Obviously it’s difficult for us because there’s never been a major fight before – but that’s challenging. I like that.” AJ has hinted that he would be open to fighting in Nigeria, especially as he spent some time there as a child.
The heavyweight boxer also has a tattoo of the country on his arm and believes that it makes people relate to him. “When you are in sport you become a representation of people.
“I’ve got it [an outline of Nigeria] tattooed on my arm, so people can relate to me. I don’t know if [a fight there] will happen.” If, and at the moment it’s a BIG if, Joshua/Klitschko does take place in Africa, it would echo another mega fight that happened on the night of October 30, 1974, the iconic Rumble in the Jungle bout between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.
Widely regarded to be “arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century” Foreman/Ali took place in Kinshasa, Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and pitted former heavyweight champ Ali against George Foreman.
At the time, Zaire was ruled by Joseph-Désiré Mobuto, a dictator who wanted to project to the world that the land-locked African country was a forward looking state and not the vicious and greedy dictatorship it actually was.
Mobuto was not pleased when Muhammad Ali decided to tell heavyweight champ Foreman that “My African brothers is going to boil you in the pot.”
Not sure that’s the image Mobuto was aiming for when he allowed the fight to take place, but there you go. The fight was the introduction of a new tactic by Ali, the iconic ‘rope a dope’ for which he is still remembered.
After taking a hell of a beating throughout the bout, Ali decided to go on the offensive once the giant Foreman had tired himself out, and then in a flurry of punches, sent ‘Big George’ to the canvas.
If Joshua-Klitschko do go to Africa and the bout is anywhere near as action packed as Zaire 1974, then Hearn is on to a winner.
Photo: Anthony Joshua (right) lands a right hook on Wladmir Klitchsko during their first World Heavyweight Boxing title fight in Wembley, London. Promoter Eddie Hearn says the rematch may hold in Nigeria…later this year.