21st November, 2014
The first step towards the revival of boxing in Nigeria will be taken on Sunday when the GOtv Boxing Night holds at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium. GOtv Boxing Night is an event featuring six professional bouts in a variety of weight categories. At a press conference held on 6 November in Lagos, promoter of the event and Managing Director of Flykite Productions, Mr. Jenkins Alumona, explained that the objective of GOtv Boxing Night is a revival of the sport.
“What we want to do, with the support of everybody, is to arrest the decline that we are seeing. We are fully committed to this and we believe that very soon, we can stage African and world title bouts in Nigeria,” Alumona said.
GOtv Boxing Night has behind it an impressive line-up of sponsors. In addition to pay-TV company, GOtv, the sponsors are Custodian Life Assurance Plc, 1960 Bet, KSquare Security, Paragonis Multimedia Productions, SuperSport, MultiChoice Nigeria and Zetaweb.
Martin Mabutho, General Manager (Marketing) of MultiChoice, promoters of GOtv, explained that the organisation decided to spearhead the revival of Nigerian boxing because of its strong belief in the country and the recognition of the fact that Nigeria has a deep pool of boxing talents desperately requiring encouragement to break out and conquer the world. Mabutho is convinced that the event is not a one-off and will achieve its objective.
Ambitious, no doubt. But given the profile and vision of the directing minds, the objective is realisable. For example, boxers at GOtv Boxing Night, said the organisers, will earn considerably more than what boxers are used to being paid.
“We looked at the fighter’s purse and concluded that to get our boxers motivated, they need to be paid a lot better when they fight. GOtv Boxing Night will deliver on this promise,” said Alumona. Also, Custodian Life Assurance Plc announced an insurance package of N24million for the boxers. Mr. Larry Ademeso, Managing Director, Custodian Life Assurance Plc, said the insurance cover being provided for the boxers is an evidence of the company’s commitment to boxing. “There is no better way of demonstrating our commitment than the scale of insurance cover we are providing the boxers participating in this event to the tune of N24m. We surely have long term commitment towards noble initiatives,” he said. Ademeso added that boxing has a huge following in Nigeria, but has been neglected.
The six fights at GOtv Boxing Night, which has been sanctioned by the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C), include the National Featherweight title duel between Dare “Fighting Machine” Oyewole and Waidi “Skoro” Usman, the Heavyweight bout featuring Adewale “Tiger” Abbey and Tope “Young” Ogunshakin as well as the Featherweight contest between David ‘Lucky Boy’ Ekpeyong and Muhammed “Fearless” Tijani.
Others are the Light Middleweight clash between Chijioke “Painless” Nigige and Sunday”Capo” Olalekan, Stanley “Edo Boy” Johnson vs Saheed “Happy Boy” Olayiwola (Light Welterweight) and Dele “Lagelu” Adeleke vs Rasheed “Afonja Warrior” Abolaji (Light Middleweight).
The fights will be broadcast live on MultiChoice’s SuperSport platform, a gesture that is expected to give it mileage.
Also at the event, many boxing legends will be honoured. Lined up for honour are Ray Amao, Obisia Nkwapa, Joe Lasisi, Jerry Okorodudu, Hogan Jimoh and Dele Jonathan. They will receive cash gifts in addition to a plaque for the contributions to boxing. GOtv Boxing Night has been endorsed by the legends, who see it as a laudable initiative capable to rescuing the sport.
Security measures have been put in place for the safety of fans at the venue of the GOtv Boxing Night.
The security assurance was made by the management of Flykite Productions, promoters of the GOtv Boxing Night after a security meeting with National Stadium authorities. Mr. Jenkins Alumona, Managing Director, Flykite Productions, emerged from the meeting to declare that boxing fans have nothing to fear because arrangements have been made to ensure they are protected from any untoward experience at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, venue of the event.
Alumona further revealed that security on the day will be handled by KSquare Security, a top-tier security firm.
“The company that will provide security at the GOtv Boxing Night is vastly experienced in the handling of events of this magnitude. They have demonstrated their expertise over the years, the reason for which they are in the top bracket in the sector.
“Having them with us is a big bonus and I assure every fan of protection from harassment and intimidation. There is absolutely no need to fear. Fans are assured of their safety,” he said.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that world boxing title fights will soon be staged in Nigeria. This is the conviction of Alumona, who believes that GOtv Boxing Night, an initiative designed to reverse the flagging fortunes of boxing in Nigeria, can help attract African and world title fights to the country in the very near future.
Alumona said the dream of having continental and international fights staged in Nigeria is eminently achievable.
“Who says we can’t stage World and African title fights in Nigeria? We have good professional boxers in the country, it will not be difficult to bring opponents from other countries and continents to fight them on home soil. That is what we are aiming for with GOtv Boxing Night and we are positive we will achieve it,” he said.
Alumona added that Flykite Productions is coming into boxing with strong organisational pedigree and will join hands with all stakeholders, including the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control, to restore the glory of boxing in the country. The event will kick off at 5PM.