A Date With Joshua and Kamaru Tonight

Ernest Omoarelojie/Benin City

August 20, 2022.

For Nigerian contact sport lovers, tonight’s billed to produce two sumptuous, delectably mouthwatering meals they are not likely to forget even in a hurry. One will be on the table at the King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where former IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA belts owner, Nigerian born, British pugist, Anthony Joshua, will be making his biggest attempt to reclaim them from Ukraine’s determined defender and champion, Oleksandr Usyk.

The Rage of the Red Sea, as the fight is labeled, tees off at 12:00 pm EST or 18:00 CET and promises to be a sumptuous meal indeed.

The Joshua/Usyk clash will definitely have Nigerian boxing buffs sitting on edge. That’s least surprising given the manner the undefeated Ukranian rob slime on the former champion’s dreams in London in September last year.

Though the Nigerian-born Briton has made moves, including changing his coach, to prep up his ring craft and give confidence to his fans that he could gain back his belts, the form of his foe still leaves butterfly fluttering in the stomach of his fans. The real deal is that the skillful Usyk appears too efficient to be waved off over an encore. In any case, Though tonight will decide who comes out victorious, Nigerians will still root for Joshua.

The other meal for Nigerians tonight is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, clash between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, billed to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Tagged UFC 278, the Nigerian born, US-based UFC Welterweight Numero Uno and best pound-for-pound fighter, is expected to walk into the ropes at about 12:15 am ET in defense of his hard-won Welterweight crown against Britain’s Edwards.

Whereas pundits are almost certain that the Nigerian Nightmare, as Usman is better known in the UFC, will have his belt intact after UFC 278’s Saturday night, they are equally united in the belief that Edwards will not be an easy ride. They have their reasons.

The duo had their first encounter way back in 2015, with the Nigerian Nightmare coming out with his head and shoulders held high against the Briton, better known as Rocky. However, the duo were relatively unknown at the time but have since gone ahead to chalk up their fair shear of outstanding fights with remarkable victories over the years.

For instance, while Usman flaunts a frightening 20 – 1 – 0 stats, Edwards comes over with a thumping 19 – 3 – 0 resume.
To boot, with the 35-year-old champion holding wining patent over a fearsome list of fighters, including Colby Covington, (x2), Jorge Masvidal (x2), Gilbert Burns, Tyron Woodley and Sean Strickland, Edwards boasts of nine straight fight wins since losing to Usman in 2015. His conquest list has the likes of Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson and Donald Cerrone, one he hopes will help secure his dream in tonight’s shot at glory.

Certainly, the duo will fall back on the lessons learnt from their last contact. And it is likely that whoever emerges winner tonite dug back in enough to unravel the other.

Truth is that whoever the opponent is tonight, Nigerians will reach out in support, patriotism on the driver’s seat, in support of Joshua and Usman. With a victory secured, all things equal, Nigeria will be better for it.

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