'I'm Not Finshed Yet'

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After ruling Nigeria’s professional boxing world in the Lightweight category, Akeem  Akinbode got an invitation from a boxing coach, who saw the prospects in the dark-skinned  boxer to make it big in boxing, but on arriving the United States of America, USA, the  story suddenly changed.

Akinbode had left Nigeria with the hope of better life in the USA. He believed that  within a short period of time he would hit the headlines but his dream did not come true.  He is still struggling to prove his mettle in the world of boxing.

The professional boxer, who is in his 30s and married with kids, had settled down in the  USA, began training with a view that he was going to have a fight. Truly he got a fight  but a few days to the fight he injured his wrist in training. This forced him to pull out  from the fight.

Little did he know that what he described as minor injury would force him out of the ring  for a very long time.

He described the wrist injury as a career threatening one, stating “when I arrived USA,  everything changed- the weather, the food and the mode of communication, but after  a  while I acclimatised. I began training and  my trainer was really impressed with my  performance. He promised to get me a fight and I was billed to face an American, only for  me to suffer an injury days before the fight. It was hellish for me because I was already  in high spirits believing I was going to knock out my opponent but it did not come to  pass”.

He opened up on how he was able to revive his career after the injury and how the injury  affected his fight against John Ortega of the USA. He said that when his trainer told him  that he had been given another opportunity to step into the ring, he received the news  with great expectations.

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Despite the fact that he lost the bout 1-4 the fans praised him for his heroic efforts,  being the first time he would be fighting after coming out of injury. According to him,  “boxing is give and take, so when I was going to confront Ortega, I told myself that  Akeem, this is a chance for you to show your wealth of experience but I was wrong because  I was well pummelled. The joy I had on that day was that the fans were always screaming  warrior! warrior! warrior! That was enough for me”.

His trainer believed in his prowess, so he disclosed and was given another opponent not  long after his first loss, this time, his opponent was Frankie Gomez of the USA. He said  that the confidence reposed in him by his trainer spurred him to train hard before the  bout with the optimism that he would make up for his first loss but he ended up being  beaten again.

“To be sincere, fights are not easy to come by but my trainer is someone who knows my  strength after losing my first fight. He gave me another opportunity. I tried but my best  wasn’t good enough as I lost to Gomez,” he said

With the two losses suffered so far in the USA, he reckons that all hope is not lost for  him adding, “it is not how many times a man falls that matters but it is his ability to  stand up, I’m not finished yet, there is always another day”.

Comparing professional boxing in Nigeria to that of  USA,  he said there is no  comparison, urging the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, NBBof C ,the board in charge of  professional boxing to wake up to their responsibilities by approaching corporate bodies  for sponsorship.

He believes that  boxing shows should be organised every weekend because that is the only  way they can help the sport grow.