Boxing

UFC champion Adessanya reveals how racist abuse inspired him to stardom

New UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was just 10 when his family uprooted him from Nigeria to an all-white school in New Zealand.
The only black kid in his class, he was relentlessly bullied until he learned to fight and stand up for himself.
Since then the lean 6ft 4in 30-year-old fighter has had a chip on his shoulder, bragging and smack talking to all who would listen.
On Sunday he backed up his talk by crushing Robert Whittaker in two rounds before a record crowd of 57,000 in Melbourne to become world champion.
‘I’m real petty you know that. I remember everything like an elephant. I was in the nosebleeds and now I made his nose bleed,’ he gloated in victory.
Adesanya’s journey from the nosebleeds to world champ started when his well-off parents decided to move out of Lagos to give their children a better education.
His father Femi, an accountant, and Taiwo, a nurse, were tossing up between the U.S. and New Zealand and ruled out America after the September 11 attacks.
‘I went to Rotorua Boys’ High School and there’s a lot of testosterone. It was ups and downs, smiles and frowns,’ he told Sporting News.
‘It was weird being the only black kid around. I had to defend myself a lot.
‘I’m cheeky, I’m annoying so I’d always get myself into trouble and eventually I had to learn how to defend myself. That’s when my search for fighting came through.’

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close