Sixteen years after taking his martial arts skills to New Zealand, Nigerian-born current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya stepped his feet on his fatherland yesterday.
The arrival of Adesanya, who defeated America’s Kelvin Gastelum during a UFC 236 fight in Atlanta, USA a few weeks ago, caused a major stir at the Murtala Mohammed International airport yesterday afternoon as immigration officers and other security personnel at the airport scrambled to shake his hand.
After a brief stay at the airport, Adesanya and his accompanying team zoomed off to an unknown destination in Lagos.
His father, Femi Adesanya told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday that Last Stylebender, as Israel Adesanya is fondly called, was in Nigeria to feel the environment, which he left about 16 years ago.
“Israel came home just to feel the environment, eat the local food and meet with the people. The visit is just like a holiday for him,” the senior Adesanya revealed from his base in New Zealand.
Adesanya’s victory at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, earned him the interim middleweight championship belt in one of the best title fights ever seen in combat sports history.
The Nigerian won via unanimous decision. He moved to New Zealand when he was 13.
Adesanya had defeated Brazil’s Anderson Silva in February at UFC 234 contest in Melbourne, Australia, but his battle against Gastelum, a Mexican fighter in Atlanta, was fascinating.
It was not clear yesterday if Adesanya will appear at any public function, but a source close to the fighter hinted he might hold a meeting with Ogun State Governor Ibekunle Amusan before he returns to New Zealand. He hails from Odogbolu, Ogun State.
Adesanya trained in taekwondo briefly during his primary school days at Opebi, Lagos before he relocated to New Zealand at the age of 13.
AFCON 2019: Cameroon sack Seedorf over poor performance
The fallout from the Africa Cup of Nations has continued apace this week, with Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf shown the door on live TV, and two others also getting the sack.
Paul Put was fired by Guinea on Monday despite his side reaching the last 16, while Ricardo Mannetti has not had his contract renewed after Namibia lost all three group games.
This, added to the coaches of hosts Egypt, Tanzania, and Uganda also losing their posts in the wake of disappointing returns, has ensured a job free-for-all on the continent.
Seedorf’s sacking was announced by Cameroon’s minister of sport, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, on Tuesday, after the defending champions exited the tournament to Nigeria in the round of 16.
Kombi did not mince words on CRTV, saying, “Him staying seems problematic to me. I asked the president of the FA to notify him in accordance with the provisions of his contract.
“Our national team played in an inefficient, monotonous and predictable way. There was no real leader in the squad.
Dangote, Otedola promises Super Eagles $75k (N27m) for each goal in remaining AFCON matches
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have gotten a major boost in their 2019 African Cup of Nations campaign, as Nigerian billionaires, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola have pledged $75,000 for every goal scored in their remaining games.
The Super Eagles team had earlier gotten $75,000 from Aiteo Group, for the three goals scored in their 3-2 victory over Cameroon in the Round of 16. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave each player $5,000, while Hosea Wells Okunbo, a businessman, promised $20,000 per player.
As they take on Algeria on Sunday in the Semi-Final Match of the 2019 AFCON, Dangote has promised $50,000 per goal, while Otedola pledged the sum of $25,000 for each goal scored.
‘I’m calling the shots’ – Andy Ruiz says he will refuse a rematch with Anthony Joshua in the UK
The rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua may not be happening in the UK, as the Mexican-American heavyweight is pushing for the fight to take place in either of his two home countries.
Andy Ruiz had claimed the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, after he defeated Anthony Joshua in a fight which took place in Madison Square, New York, United States. Speaking to TMZ Sports on plans about the rematch, he said;
“I haven’t talked to him, but I’m pretty sure he’s training hard for the rematch and so am I. I want the rematch to be in Mexico or New York City again, Vegas, or here [in LA].”
When asked if the Nigerian-born British boxer will agree to this, he said;
“It doesn’t matter because I’m the champion… I’m calling the shots… We’re the A-side.”
This contradicts fight promoter, Eddie Hearn’s claim that Anthony Joshua will have the final say over where the rematch takes place.
The Nigerian-born British boxer is in Nigeria at the moment.
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