24th December, 2010
As the clock ticks to the end of year 2010, boxing lovers in Nigeria had nothing much to celebrate about the sport but two Nigerian professional boxers madeÂ the country proud in foreign countries.
Ranked 13 by the International Boxing Federation, IBF, Nigeriaâ€™s Wale â€œLucky Boyâ€ Omotoso (18-0, 16 KOs) stopped Juan Alberto Godoy (25-12-1, 10 KOs) in theÂ fourth round of their WelterweightÂ scheduled twelve round bout at the Knox Netball Center in Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia last month, while hisÂ compatriotÂ Lateef â€œPowerâ€ Kayode (15-0, 14 KO) defeated his opponent, 34-year old Ed Perry (18-5, 11 KO) of Lafayette, Indiana in round six of theirÂ Cruiserweight bout early this month to give boxing lovers in Nigeria something to be happy about.
While the profile of both professional boxers soared during the last quarter under review, same could not be said of another Nigerian, Akeem Akinbode who wasÂ beaten black and blue in the United States of America, USA.
Omotosho and Kayode cut their amateur boxing teeth in Nigeria, representing the country in many international competitions. But the boxers turnedÂ professional when they their amateur careers nosedived.
Before turning professional, both boxers had told Boxing In Focus that they were tired of the bad treatment meted out to amateur boxers in the country, henceÂ their decision to leave the amateur rank for the professional category.
However, National Super Middleweight champion, Mojeed Okedaraâ€™s quest to hit it big in professional bixing during the quarter under review met a brick wallÂ as he couldnâ€™t get a fight in the USA. â€œMy promoters said they canâ€™t get me a fight because my fight records are not on fightfans.com but his details are onÂ boxingrec.comÂ Iâ€™still believeÂ that someday I would have the opportunity to fight here,â€ he disclosed in a telephone interview.
During the quarter under review, the Lagos State Boxing Hall of Fame and the Lagos State Amateur Boxing Association held an international amateur boxingÂ competition, which had in attendance boxers from Repton Boys Club, England.
Still on the international scene, reigning WBC Heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko floored his opponent, Shawn Briggs, who earlier vowed to retire himÂ but he failed.
Two Nigerians, Prince Wale Oladunjoye and Eng. Afolabi Salami, were appointed members of the World Boxing Council, WBC, this was the only cheering news onÂ the home front.
There were complaints when five Nigerian boxers, who represented the country at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, couldnâ€™t get to the medals zone. The formerÂ Minister of Sports, Alhaji Ibrahim Bio, carpeted the former President of the Nigeria Boxing Federation, NBF Rotimi George-Taylor, for not doing enough inÂ preparing the five boxers for the Games.
The former Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly was unhappy that George-Taylor, who was expected to be sulking over the boxersâ€™ poor performance, wasÂ looking for how to get himself a place on the WBC.
Former National champion, Felix Akpan also complained about the dearth of boxing shows in the country, saying it is not good for the development of the sportÂ in the country.