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



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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