14th September, 2011
The newly crowned Commonwealth Super Flyweight champion, Yakub Kareem of Nigeria, has said that his ability to keep away from women and drinking gave him victory in his recent bout against Ghanaâ€™s Cobbinah Johnson in Accra.
Kareem, a former national Bantamweight champion, disclosed that it was his ability to control his behaviour prior to the fight that gave him victory over his opponent.
â€œWinning the bout was not a tea party for me. Like anything worthwhile, I had to denial myself a lot of things. I had to keep off women and drinking, knowing very well that these might hinder me from achieving my goal. But I thank God today that I have achieved my goal,â€ said Kareem.
The pugilist said that he encountered many challenges in the course of preparing for the bout in Ghana.
â€œI relocated to Ghana when I was preparing for the bout and I passed through a lot of stress while I was there. And you know things can easily go wrong when people are under stress. But I thank my coaches for helping me to achieve my dream of becoming a champion,â€ said the hitman.
Kareem, expessed his appreciation to the support given to him by Nigerians, saying that it was their support that gave him the confidence to outpunch his opponent.
â€œI appreciate all Nigerians for standing behind me before and during the bout. I thank them and owe my victory to them. I hope to continue to do them proud by winning the world title as well,â€ said Kareem.
The newly crowned champion noted that the the present state of Nigerian boxing can change for the better if corporate bodies are prepared to sponsor the sport.
â€œWe have very good boxers in Nigeria but our major problem is lack of sponsors. That is the reason we do not have enough tournaments to keep our boxers busy.
â€œWe have a great number of potential champions in this country but there are no tournaments for them to exhibit their talents. The present state of Nigerian boxing will definitely changefor better if corporate organisations can give us support,â€said Kareem.
Comparing the state of boxing in Nigeria with that of Ghana, Kareem said Nigeria is far behind its West African neighbour as far as sponsorship and tournaments are concerned.
â€œThere are regular boxing tournaments in Ghana because corporate organisations are up and doing over there. They promote boxing bouts every two weeks. Though the money may not be attractive enough but the fights are regular in Ghana,â€ he said.