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It’s time for heavyweight boxing champions to make history in Africa

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The World Boxing Council (WBC) postponed the purse bid for Deontay Wilder’s rematch with Tyson Fury until yesterday.
Meanwhile, despite his promoters booking Wembley Stadium a half year in advance, Anthony Joshua has failed to secure an opponent for today at the 90,000-seater venue.

Let us look at the panorama – a unique cocktail of three heavyweight world champions, who are all undefeated and approaching their zenith together. Even when seen separately, each is a Titan.

Titans, yes, but greatness is a trailblazer. There is, of course, dignity in revisiting sites of former glories, but Las Vegas – a proposed location for the WBC rematch between Wilder and Fury – is the hangout of resident singers. And Brooklyn – another option tabled – is a gentrified ghost. Is either of these a suitable location to stake a claim to greatness?

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Try to imagine what it was to host Ali and Foreman in Zaire 1974. Pockets of Africa were trying to shake off their colonial imprint; others were still fighting imperialism.

Decades later, not even the peacemaking efforts of Nelson Mandela were able to mediate between Mobutu Sese Seko’s and Laurent-Désiré Kabila. 18 years since Mobutu’s passing we are reminded of non-partisan sporting diplomacy.

In 2019, we are on the cusp of a potentially divisive episode in Nigeria’s history.

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