Nigerian heavyweight boxer Raphael Akpejiori says his target is to challenge WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua, expressing confidence he has what it takes to dethrone him, Completesports.com reports.
Akpejiori, 29, who was raised in Surulere, in Lagos but now resides in Miami, Florida, USA, stated this in an interview with Super Sports.
The six foot, eight inches boxer who is unbeaten in six fights, winning all via knockouts, highlights what fighting Joshua would bring to Nigeria and Africa.
“Obviously I want to fight Anthony Joshua tomorrow,” admits Akpejiori.
“If he has the belts at that time, I’m going to collect the belts from him at that time.
“Fighting Joshua is not just about having a great record, or whatever. There’s a business side to it that I have to accomplish too.
“I have to get my name out there. I’m going to have to show some quality, in my boxing. I’m going to have to present myself to the public and to promoters as this is a fight that needs to happen.
“But if that happens, it would be a great fight for the country and for the continent. That could happen in Nigeria, that can happen in Lagos, Nigeria, that can happen in Abuja, Nigeria, that can happen in Calabar, Nigeria.” Akpejiori who has a fight coming up in September in Miami said.
A former college basketball player at University of Miami who also featured for the school’s American football team, he explained why he took up boxing.
“I actually always loved fighting. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but when I was in secondary school in Nigeria I fought like every other day.”
He added: “The quality of my boxing itself tells you I’m here to mean business. I don’t need my record to tell you that I mean business. If you stand in front of me, you will get knocked out. That’s how it’s going to be for the next 50 fights, or for the next how many more fights I go to.
“Whether you feel I mean business or not, it’s your problem, in my opinion, because when we face, you will get knocked out.”
On his Jamaican trainer, Glen Johnson, who famously toppled Roy Jones Jr to become IBF light-heavyweight champion, he said:
“He saw my amateur tapes and kind of thought I was terrible,” recalled Akpejiori.
“He has such high standards, because you know as a champion, you see things from a championship perspective, and I was the second ever boxer that he was training.”
Akpejiori had his first professional fight against America’s Omar Acosta, on 14 September 2018 and secured a technical knock out win.
His last fight was against another American Mike Delshaun Ford on 17 January 2020 whom he stopped via a technical knock out win.
During his amateur days he suffered just one defeat in 14 bouts.
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