I won’t forget my ‘historic’ moment with Alaafin, says Joe Boy
• Prepares for WBC fight in Belgium
Two-time African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight titleholder, Oto ‘Joe Boy’ Joseph, says Nigerian boxers will miss the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111, for the inspirational role he played to young pugilists in the country.
Four years ago, the late Alaafin played a major role in the victory recorded by Joe Boy over Ghana’s Nathaniel Nukpe in their ABU lightweight title fight at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan.
The complex (now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium) shot Nigeria into the world boxing fame in 1962 when it hosted the first world boxing title fight in Africa, where the country’s Dick Tiger defeated America’s Gene Fullmer to win the World middleweight boxing title.
On July 30, 2018, all eyes were on the Indoor Sports Hall of the Liberty Stadium for the GOtv Boxing Night 15, with a focus on Joe Boy for the ABU lightweight title.
The late Alaafin of Oyo, a great lover of boxing, graced the occasion in the company of a large delegation of his local chiefs.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Joe Boy said the late Alaafin played a significant role in the development of boxing by motivating young pugilists in his lifetime.
He recalled what transpired at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan in 2018. “That is one historic moment I won’t forget in my entire life. Before I stepped into the ring for the fight, I saw the Kabiyesi seated with his palace chiefs and it lifted my fighting spirit. I told myself that it would be a disaster for me to lose the fight in the presence of the Alaafin. Thank God I won.”
Though the visiting Ghanaian pugilist, Nukpe, won the hearts of many Nigerians with his doggedness and style of boxing, the inspiration from the Alaafin gave Joe Boy the motivation he needed to triumph in the 12-round contest.
“Despite his age and the position he occupied as a top traditional ruler, the Alaafin devoted time to cheer us (boxers) inside the ring. I remember the Alaafin even danced around the hall with some of us. He gave a lot to boxing. We will miss him,” he stated.
The Alaafin, who died on Friday, April 22, 2022, was not just a first-class monarch, but a boxer. And despite retiring from the game early due to his coronation, the Alaafin was a passionate follower of the game even after he ascended the throne of his fathers.
MEANWHILE, Joe Boy revealed yesterday that he would depart for Belgium next month (May) to challenge for World Boxing Council (WBC) title.
The Nigerian boxer, who won the ABU title twice, is currently under a Ghanaian manager.