SECRETARY-General, Nigerian Boxing Board of Control, NBB of C, Mr Remi Aboderin, has clamoured for support from all stakeholders towards taking Nigerian professional boxing to greater heights.
Speaking with Tribunesport, he noted that so many talented youngsters in the country who could have become boxing champions in their various categories could not realise their dreams as a result of dearth of competitions and lack of sponsorship.
“We need the government, companies and individuals to sponsor boxing. Our young and talented boxers are wasting because of lack of support,” Aboderin begins.
“Boxers like Taiwo Agbaje, Tope Musa, Tony Salam, Rilwan Oyekola, Rilwan Oladosu, Rilwan Lawal, Taiwo Olowu, and many of them are potential world champions. These are talented boxers who need a lot of support to make to it the global scene.
“Anthony Joshua and UFC champions Usman Kamaru and Isreal Adesanya are celebrated by Nigerian government and prominent Nigerian politicians, while our talented boxers here are left in abject poverty and their dreams of becoming world champions stalled.
“In fact, Taiwo Agbaje, who is the number one featherweight boxer in Nigeria, due to lack of support is now a bus conductor in Lagos and he cries daily for support to achieve his dreams of becoming African and world champion.”
Aboderin, who is also the president of the West African Boxing Union (WABU) stated that Nigeria should borrow a leaf from other African countries to boost boxing in the country.
“I call on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr Femi Otedola, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and other well-to-do Nigerians to give Nigerian boxing a new lease of life. Our wealthy politicians need to support boxing in Nigeria for us to produce more world champions that will be celebrated like Joshua, Adesanya and Kamaru.
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“Banks and Airlines sponsor boxing in Ghana and there are a number of corporate organisations in Nigeria that need to be made to sponsor boxing too. President Nana Akufo-Addo was at a boxing event in Ghana recently and his presence alone was a boost for the sport and a way of encouraging the youth to embrace sports.
“In Zambia “Zam Cement” has been sponsoring boxing for over 15 years, I know this because I once took Nigerian boxers Isaac Nigerian Grenade Ekpo and Adewale Abbey Tiger to fight in Zambia on their sponsorship.
“There are cement companies in this country too and they need to invest in boxing. We need corporate organisations in Nigeria to wake up to their responsibilities to Nigerian and Nigerian youths. MTN, Glo etc sponsor boxing in Ghana and we want this same gesture extended to Nigeria.
“Here, it is always difficult before public office holders will endorse or present at boxing venues.
“Let’s build our own home-grown world champions and superstars, government should partner with private investors to bring out the best from the Nigerian youth,” Aboderin said.