8th October, 2010
Former National Welterweight champion, Felix Akpan, has cried out over the dwindlingÂ fortunes of boxing in Nigeria.
The Akwa Ibom State-born pugilist said that a sport that brought honour and fame to theÂ country should not be left to die.
He noted that there is nothing to show for the development of boxing in the last 50Â years, adding that the celebration of the 50th independence anniversary of the countryÂ would have been meaningful to him and other like minds if heroes of Nigerian boxing wereÂ not forgotten by the authorities.
â€œIâ€™m sad about the situation in Nigerian boxing, both in the professional and the amateurÂ cadres. There is virtually nothing to show that we as a nation in the past 50 years ofÂ our independence have developed the game to its fullest potential,â€ said Akpan, who isÂ managing a boxing gym in Ejigbo area of Lagos State, Nigeria.
â€œItâ€™s unfortunate that boxing that brought fame to the country through the likes of theÂ late Hogan Bassey and Dick Tiger is battling for survival today. Those who made theÂ nation proud both dead and living have been forgotten by the government. I remember thatÂ it took the intervention of Pastor Chris Okotie who came to the aid of the family ofÂ Hogan Bassey a few years ago when they were in dire need of help. Bash Ali has beenÂ battling to stage a world title fight in Nigeria in the last ten years without success.Â Our boxers are in India for the Commonwealth Games 2010 without good preparation. It isÂ so sad,â€ he said.
â€œBoxing is dying in Nigeria or can I say that the game is dead? I feel so sad seeing ourÂ politicians amassing wealth and spending the money recklessly while our sports men andÂ women find it hard to get funds to prepare for championships. What Golden Jubilee ofÂ independence are we celebrating in Nigeria? There is nothing to show for it. TheÂ authorities should do something urgently about the state of sport that made me in life,â€.