World heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua fully embraced his Nigerian heritage in a new advert for telecommunications giant, Globacom Limited, that was released on February 1 via the company’s official social media accounts.
Joshua, one of the biggest sports personalities in the world at the moment and holder of four belts, was born to Nigerian parents in Watford, England. Despite having won an Olympic gold medal while representing Britain, Joshua proudly proclaims his Nigerian heritage with a famous tattoo of Africa and his ancestral country clearly marked on his shoulder.
Glo’s partnership with Joshua is the first by any Nigerian company to bring the global recognisability of the boxer closer home. In an article I wrote in The Guardian in April 2018, I threw the challenge to Nigerian brands and asked: “How will Nigeria make use of its ties to the Brand Anthony Joshua?”
One of Nigeria’s biggest home-grown brands has now taken this big step with Joshua in a one minute video that portrays the strength of the Nigerian. Just like Glo, Joshua has reached the top of his sport by being tenacious despite all the “hard knocks” that life throws at the average Nigerian.
Speed, Power, Tenacity and the fighting spirit that Nigerians are known for. That’s what makes Anthony Joshua world class and why we go all the way the way to connect you. Naija we hail o! #GloWithPride #DrivingTheFuture @anthonyfjoshua pic.twitter.com/UOKgnKIrDU
— Glo (@GloWorld) February 1, 2019
“I can’t carry these heavyweight titles by myself, there’s always got to be someone in my corner. That’s why I believe in Glo. We have that same tenacity, that Nigerian fighting spirit that makes us game changers,” Joshua said in the commercial.
“You have to think deep to be a world champion. We Nigerians, yeah we know all about that. Glo, I hail o!” he concluded in Pidgin.
Joshua continues to be a magnet for brands that see him as a very approachable and marketable superstar. The 29-year-old is well-spoken, respectful (he greeted Alexander Povetkin in his dressing room after beating the Russian in March 2018), good looking and could be on his way to breaking into the billion dollars earnings mark according to The Drum. He has also sold out more than 300,000 tickets during his last four fights at the Wembley and Principality stadiums.
He was ranked the most marketable athlete in the world in 2017 by SportsPro and finished number two in 2018 (behind Manchester United’s Paul Pogba). He has deals with top brands Lynx, Sky Sports, Under Armour, Jaguar, Beats by Dre, JD Sports, and Lucozade.
Globacom, who have several Nigerian musicians and actors on their brand ambassadorial roster, have stopped working with sports people for a long while. They pulled out of sponsoring the Nigerian football topflight, the NPFL, in 2017.
The company’s return to sports sponsorship with the biggest Nigerian on the global map is a big coup indeed. One wonders what could be on the horizon.
Could this bring to pass Joshua’s first visit back home since becoming a global icon?
Should we dream about a Joshua fight in Lagos? I would like to think that anything is possible now.
The question also needs to be asked, how will the UK market perceive Joshua after this Nigerian declaration?
One thing is worth noting though, as at the time of writing this piece Joshua had not yet announced the collaboration with Globacom via his own social media accounts.
It will be interesting days ahead.
What do you think about this deal? Happy to hear your thoughts, please comment below.
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