5th December, 2012
Although, Team Lagos are featuring a dazzling array of talents in the male and female boxing events of the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival, tagged ‘Eko 2012’, yet it is doubtful if the state will let go easily two of its male boxers who pulled a fast one on the team by flying the flag of other states.
P.M. News exclusively gathered that Samuel Opaogun and Obiora Okadigbo were earlier in the camp of Team Lagos during the build-up to the festival, but to the dismay of their teammates and coaches, both boxers featured for other states at the ongoing games.
Sources told our reporter that both boxers received N67,000 each as camp allowances and absconded to other states before the commencement of the games.
The two pugilists are regular faces at the Monthly Saturday Boxing Show, a programme packaged by the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame, LBHF, in conjunction with the Lagos Amateur Boxing Association, LABA.
Opaogun, who featured at the June edition of the monthly show held at Rowe Park, Yaba, flies the flag of Niger State in the 60kg Light Weight category, while his comrade in the alleged crime, Okadigbo changed his name to Chike Obiora at the ongoing games to hide his real identity. He featured for Eboyin State in the 91kg Heavyweight category.
Reacting to the shameful act of the two boxers, LABA scribe, Adejuwon Adepuji told P.M.News that the association will sanction Opaogun and Okadigbo to serve as deterrent to others that may want to follow in their footsteps.
“It is not a pleasant feeling to discover that we have been taken for a ride by the boxers that we have invested so much in. That is why we must sanction these two boxers in order to discourage others from treating us the same way in the future,” said Adepuji.
The LABA topshot said that the association will no longer allow a situation where boxers will ride the crest of the goodwill of Lagos State only to feature for other states at the festival.
“We will bar these boxers from featuring in our events henceforth because of what they have done. We will ostracise them so that they will no longer enjoy the same privileges with their mates that are loyal to the state,” added Adepuji.
On his own part, Team Lagos Head Coach, Wasiu Bisiriyu, said that he is not concerned about the state the boxers are representing, adding that Lagos State still parades the best boxers at the games.
“I am not bothered at all about this issue because I have boxers in my team who that are far better than these guys. That is why I really don’t care whether they fight for Lagos State or choose to represent other states at the festival,” Bisiriyu boasted.
Neither Opaogun nor Okadigbo who competed at the festival as Obiora reacted when our confronted with the allegation. They claimed they were gagged from the press by their respective states.