At least two countries in West Africa would like to claim undefeated super featherweight contender Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab as their own.
Wahab was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. However, much of his boxing background comes from Ghana, where he studies under the watchful eye of respected trainer Charles Quartey (pictured left with Wahab).
Naturally, both countries would probably like to add another world champion to their list—and Wahab appears to be a safe bet to win one. The 23-year-old phenom returns to the ring on Saturday, December 25, title against Tanzania’s Jackson Malinyingi.
After capturing the WBO Africa 130-pound title in Nigeria last July, Wahab will defend that strap at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
“Ghana is a home to me because this whole boxing thing started here so I always feel blessed to fight here,” Wahab told BoxingAfrica.com.
“I am glad to have another opportunity to return to the ring to make my title defense and I’m determined to make it work.”
On the surface, Malinyingi’s 11-4-1 (3 KOs) record doesn’t appear threatening. However, his Tanzanian background suggests he’ll bring to the ring a fighting style that Wahab, who has primarily fought West African fighters, isn’t accustomed to seeing.
It’s this time of experience that will prepare the 23-year-old for the international stage. Wahab (21-0, 14 KOs) is doing his part to ensure he secures another victory as he moves closer to a world title shot.
Last week, Wahab held a public workout for the media, winding down what has been a long training camp.
“I haven’t rested since winning the WBO Africa title because I knew I would be defending it soon,” Wahab told BoxingAfrica.com
“I have been in the gym with my trainers all this while and I believe it is going to pay off against Malinyigi.”
The non-stop activity is a welcome change for Wahab. Following a second-round KO of Friday Fatunji Felix in September 2019, Wahab wouldn’t fight again for 17 months. During that time, he got his house in order, signing a managerial deal with Streetwise Management founder, Michael Amoo-Bediako in July 2020.
Amoo-Bediako, who also manages former world champion Richard Commey, brought Wahab to U.S. promotional outfit DiBella Entertainment which also promotes Commey. Armed with a new team, Wahab says the plan is to ultimately relocate to the U.S., perhaps immediately after this bout. Trainer Quartey believes his fighter is ready for that step.
“The focus is to become a world champion and that is what we are looking forward to,” he said. “We believe he is getting closer to a title shot. I have no doubt he would achieve that dream when he finally lands in the US.”
But first, Wahab must get past Malinyingi.
“I have watched his videos so I have an idea what he is bringing on board. He is a good fighter so we are not underrating him at all,” said Wahab.
“I treat anyone I meet in the ring with equal respect so I expect him to give his all but I know I will emerge victorious.”
If the media workout was any indication, Wahab has taken his training to another level as he prepares for the next step in his career.
“You don’t have to be worried when you are training a boxer like Wahab because he knows what he wants from this sport so he doesn’t joke with training,” Quartey noted.
“I am confident that he will come out victorious against Malinyigi without any pressure.”