At 12-0, undefeated heavyweight prospect Raphael Akpejiori is already aiming big in his professional career. The puncher is picking a fight with Anthony Joshua.
Aiming for the current world ruler, Akpejiori believes the Nigerian angle can be a huge selling point to a “Rumble in the Jungle” type event between the pair.
“I’m a fan of AJ’s. Back in that day, I used to tell people, ‘There’s this kid called Anthony Joshua, he’s Nigerian, please follow him. Everyone used to say: “he’s not that good,” and I’d say: “what do you mean he’s not that good – he’s amazing,” he told mybettingsites.co.uk.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned as his future rival, and if it does happen, that has to happen in Nigeria, nowhere else. It will elevate the sport in ways that have never been thought of on the African continent.
“It will exceed the Rumble in the Jungle because you’ll have two African sons that are coming to do battle. It’s going to be me bringing my boys from the streets of Lagos.
“Him bringing his boys from the streets of Lagos. All his fans coming from London, all my fans coming from Miami. It’s going to be a beautiful thing if that happens.”
On climbing from his current standpoint to AJ’s lofty heights as the champ, Akpejiori added: “I have a lot of work to do to get to his level.
“I still have to build my record to where it’s juicy enough for that fight to happen and build my fan base and following. It would help if you were a marketable boxer, which I am currently working on.
“Boxing’s a small circle. If I want to talk to him in an hour, I know who to get his phone number from, and if he wants to reach out to me in an hour, he knows how to get hold of me, but I’ve never had a reason to.
“If we ever get to meet and have a conversation, I’d like to get his perspective. Mind you, I’ve followed AJ since I started boxing in 2016, so I’m familiar with his process and his success.
“I also have good people in my corner; my trainer is Glen Johnson. I share a strength and conditioning coach with Deontay Wilder. I have successful people who have given me advice. But I’d like to get that perspective from a British Nigerian about how he’s leveraged his career.
“I’m undefeated with twelve wins and twelve knockouts, and I’m the future undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”
Concluding on why he’s aiming so high, he stated: “My confidence comes from myself.
“I know who I am, and when I say I will become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I say it because I will be.
“I believe I’m the most athletic heavyweight boxer in the world. But I only started boxing five years ago. February 2016 was my first time in a boxing gym. I turned professional in September 2018, and I’m already a heavyweight making a buzz around the world, a rare story that attests to the hard work, dedication, and daily grind. So that’s where the confidence comes from.
“I also happen to be blessed by God to be 6”8 and 250 pounds and don’t think there’s a boxer in the world that can beat me. That’s the mentality I carry.”