GOtv Boxing Night 15: An event to remember
Immediately the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III stepped into the Indoor Sports Hall of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (formerly known as Liberty Stadium) for the GOtv Boxing Night 15 last Sunday, what could be running through his mind might likely be the famous World boxing title fight way back in 1962, when Nigeria’s Dick Tiger beat America’s Gene Fullmer to win the world middleweight boxing title. That event, the first world boxing title fight in Africa, shot Nigeria into the world fame.
And it turned out to be another memorable night for the frontline Yoruba monarch, his palace chiefs and the fans. To the monarch, the thrill and glamour being associated with the GOtv Boxing Night is a thing of joy to all spectators.
“This GOtv Boxing Night will become a centre piece in Nigerian sports. You can see how happy the spectators are. Some of them came from far and near to be part of this event, and I am sure they don’t have any course to regret coming to Ibadan this night. I will continue to support the GOtv Boxing Night,” Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III stated.
At the GOtv Boxing Night 15, the focus of the spectators were Oto ‘Joe Boy’ Joseph for the ABU lightweight title. He was the defending champion, but his opponent from Ghana, Nathaniel Nukpe, who stormed Nigeria with a large entourage, had vowed to give Nigerians a surprise package.
It paid off for Joe Boy and Nigeria. “Before I stepped into the ring for the fight, I saw the ‘kabiyesi’ seated with his palace chiefs, and it lifted my spirit,” he said after overcoming Ghanaian in a 12-round bout.
Though, the Ghanaian pugilist gave a good account of himself for his doggedness and style of boxing, Joe Boy and his supporters celebrated late into the night.
An excited Joe Boy told The Guardian that the coming of GOtv into boxing had lifted the game, not only in Nigeria but Africa and beyond.
“It is a thing of joy for me to retain my ABU lightweight title, but one particular message I have is to thank GOtv for reviving the sport in Nigeria, which was almost dead. But today, we are celebrating a night of boxing here in Ibadan just because GOtv has not relented in its effort to take the game to a greater height. I remain grateful to them.”
Another major gainer of the night was Ibadan’s hero, Akeem ‘Dodo’ Sadiku, who knocked out Franc Houanevgbe of the Republic of Benin in a middleweight duel.
Like Joe Boy, Dodo praised the sponsor for giving Nigerian boxers the platform to showcase their talents.
On his part, ABU light welterweight champion, Olaide ‘Fijaborn’ Fijabi, defeated Kazeem ‘Iberu’ Ariyo in a national challenge.
Also on the night, Ridwan ‘Scorpion’ Oyekola, a product of GOtv Boxing NextGen Search, won N1 million by emerging the best boxer of the night.
Oyekola, who was voted second best boxer at the GOtv Boxing Night 13 last December, defeated Prince ‘Lion’ Nwoye in a thrilling lightweight bout wildly cheered by the capacity crowd.
Another GOtv NextGen Search graduate, Michael ‘Lion Heart’ Godwin knocked out Idowu ‘ID Cabasa’ Okusote in a cruiserweight battle.
Daniel ‘Big Shark’ Emeka defeated Sulaimon ‘Olags’ Adeosun in the light heavyweight division, just as the light welterweight duel between Vincent ‘Dada’ Essien and Segun ‘Show Boy’ Olalehin was declared a no-contest.
Apart from the Alaafin of Oyo, other top dignitaries that graced the occasion were the Commissioner for Sports in Oyo State, Mr. Wale Oke, who represented Governor Abiola Ajimobi; and Mr. Toys Arulogun, Oyo State Information Commissioner.
The organiser of the event and Managing Director of Flykite Promotions, Jenkins Alumona, said that it was tedious reviving the sport in the country.
“When GOtv Boxing Night started in Lagos many people were so skeptical on how far we can go. But today, everybody is enjoying it, and we will continue to improve on it.
“I am sure most of these boxers will never forget the impact of GOtv in their career. Maybe, very soon, Nigerians will witness a world boxing title bout in our country.”
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