26th September, 2012
Ben Falaja is a London-based boxer who represented Repton at the just-concluded Lagos ABA Versus Repton Boys Club of London International Amateur Boxing Tournament. The pugilist spoke to BIMBO AJAYI last Saturday after his victory over Ganiu Hammed of Lagos ABA in the 69kg category. Falaja also expressed his intention to don Nigeria’s colours if he is invited for any competition.
How do you feel about outpunching Ganiu Hammed?
I feel great for beating my opponent today. I was here last year and I had two fights in which I won one and lost the other. I beat Rasheed Lawal of Lagos ABA in one of the fights. I didn’t know much about Nigerian boxers before I came here last year. But I knew what to expect when I was preparing for this edition because I am already familiar with Nigerian boxing. That was the reason I was able to beat Ganiu Hammed today. Aside from this, I listened and followed the instructions of my coach while we were preparing for this championship.
What would you say about Nigerian boxers, having competed twice in this championship?
Among the many things that I have discovered about Nigerian boxers is that they are very tough and strong. I have also discovered that there is a lot of standard in Nigerian boxing. On their part, Nigerian boxers are improving everyday. I was here last year and they gave a good account of themselves. But I am more impressed with their showing this year than what they did last year. In fact, I look forward to seeing Nigerian boxers winning medals at the Olympics in the near future.
What are your plans as regards your boxing career?
I plan to continue with my career in boxing. In fact, I don’t intend to stop now because I know that the sky is the limit for me. What I do at the moment is to keep working hard so that I will be fit to face greater challenges. And as time goes on, I hope to go professional.
How can Nigerian boxing attain greater heights?
One of the ways Nigerian boxing can move forward is to give the boxers the opportunity to travel regularly out of the country in order to see what boxers are doing in other countries. In other words, I am saying that the boxers should be given necessary exposure in the sport. But I think the best way they can get this exposure is to travel out of the country to compete with boxers in other countries. They can also come to a country like England where they can compete with more experienced boxers.
What are your achievements so far in boxing?
I’ve achieved so much in boxing that I can’t really mention all of them at once. But one of my greatest achievements is that I fought for England against Ireland. I have also fought some big names in boxing.
Would you represent Nigeria if an invitation is extended to you?
I am ready to fight for Nigeria whenever my services are needed. I am looking forward to this with excitement because this is my fatherland. I couldn’t make it to camp when the country was preparing for the London Olympics because I had other things that I am doing aside from being a boxer. I am a qualified boxing coach and engineer.