The noble artwork of boxing has remained certainly one of Nigeria’s robust holds in sports activities from the times of Nojeem Maiyegun, Dick Tiger and Hogan child Bassey.
Nonetheless, in current instances, the state of boxing has suffered a decline save for the life line of GOtv Boxing courtesy of Flykite promotions.
Final week, famend boxing coach Joe Mensah in a chat with the media whereas commending the efforts of Flykite Promotions acknowledged that the shortage of promoters is accountable for the poor state of boxing in Nigeria leaving many boxers disenchanted.
Coach Mensah additionally spoke talks in regards to the state of the nation’s boxing amenities, improvement and extra on this interview with BOLAJI OKUNOLA
How will you describe the expansion of boxing prior to now years?
My private evaluation on the present state of boxing in Nigeria began when GOtv Boxing evening comes into existence. That concept made it potential for many of us to resume our ardour for the sport. Previously, you can find out that there was no promoter. So, all of the boxers maybe grew to become nationwide champions, Africa champions and member of the Olympic staff and Commonwealth staff all ended up not being an expert as a result of there is no such thing as a manner ahead for them.
No promoter who can handle and put up a greater battle for them to maneuver ahead. However thank God for GOtv who made it potential for mild to be in boxers’ tunnel. We now have extra proficient boxers arising which I can simply point out few of them. Let me take “Child Face’ Babatunde as an illustration. He was found by GOtv within the New Era Search. By this concept, we’ve found a whole lot of upcoming boxers, now think about if GOtv fails to return to boxers rescue.
As a coach, coaching your boxers is precedence. What are you able to say in regards to the high quality of boxers in Nigeria?
Initially, via GOtv boxing evening we’ve found a whole lot of hidden expertise. Let the reality be advised, GOtv alone can’t promote the expertise we’ve found. This expertise we’re speaking about can by no means get extra publicity with out match. This lads should be uncovered.
Even America, Kuwait and host of others moved out of their nation to go and prepare and purchase extra expertise. We will’t proceed to have competitions inside ourselves after which declare we’ve improved, It’s unimaginable. As for GOtv, they’ve accomplished their greatest to fetch out uncooked abilities.
Are you hopeful that Nigeria is able to produce elite-level boxers within the nearest future?
Ans: Nicely, If GOtv decides to sponsor, not competitors alone I imply to sponsor the publicity, coaching excursions we’re prone to uncover or have world champions. But when I keep at house difficult anyone that’s introduced from Ghana, Togo or different neighboring nation, then we’re going nowhere. Sorry to say, other than Ghana who’re into boxing and different anglophone nations, we have to expose our boxers to world commonplace.
There’s distinction between preventing inside your area and preventing outdoors your area or consolation zone. Preventing outdoors this area and going through hundreds of spectators will assist construct the arrogance of a boxer.
Fijabi and different boxers have been outdoors the nation for fights, how greatest ought to different company our bodies assist out?
Take soccer as an illustration and different sports activities, you usually see that instantly they choose their staff, they journey overseas for preparation, to acclimatize with climate and to coach in world class amenities. Even if many of the footballers are based mostly overseas, they nonetheless return there to coach in different to gel collectively. The place have our personal boxers gone?
The reality should be mentioned. A few of our boxers that had been found by GOtv have by no means left the shores of Nigeria. They grew to become prime execs right here within the nation, they grew to become African champions right here in Nigeria and they’re but to journey out. Even when they step up, they solely get to Commonwealth stage; WBO, WBC they usually go about 34 or 35 ranking on the earth which I do know Fijabi can’t transcend that stage. And apart that, no supervisor has taken their circumstances up.
After all GOtv can’t do this for them, they don’t seem to be the one managing them, and they’re solely selling boxers. Like I mentioned, we want exterior our bodies that we’ve to affiliate with them. Solely then we will now say we’ve accomplished our greatest for them by way of publicity.
All wants cash and that’s why am speaking about sponsorship. And that’s why I mentioned GOtv alone can’t promote the brand new technology of boxers alone.
Q: How can we now promote and encourage boxers?
Ans: Encouragement is a part of what GOtv has been doing and all they want is to do extra. The one factor I believe they haven’t accomplished is within the space of administration for the boxers. GOtv for now could be selling however they’ve forgotten the realm of administration that can be important within the lives of the boxers. In the event that they had been properly managed, they may get extra sponsors.
Q: Out of your expertise in boxing, are you glad with what you’ve gotten seen to this point amongst Nigerian boxers?
Ans: No, I’m not glad. If I let you know I’m glad, I’m joking. What number of of our boxers have left Nigeria overseas to make us proud. I’m wanting ahead to us taking these boys overseas to pursue an enviable title and to make it occur, we want world class amenities that may put them in the suitable form.
We’re nonetheless far-off from producing a world champion from house. I’m not speaking about boxers like Anthony Joshua who we didn’t spend a penny on and but we are saying he’s our boy. The younger man was born in United Kingdom, attended Olympic Video games to symbolize U.Okay and received gold.
Sincerely talking, I reward GOtv for coming into boxing and like I mentioned earlier, they don’t seem to be the one ones that may increase the usual of the sport to the place it’s anticipated.
Q: As a former boxer and now a coach, what’s boxing to you?
Boxing is my life. The entire college I went was at the results of boxing together with the English I communicate. I additionally attended boxing college and I used to be in a position to move and are available out in flying colors. So boxing is my complete life. Once I retired from lively boxing, I advised myself that I used to be accomplished with the game however as a substitute of heading into different fields, I discovered myself working into teaching and right here I’m.
I as soon as promoted a whole lot of boxers right here in Nigeria. I did that thrice throughout Nigeria in each the skilled and novice ranks.
Q: How would you describe Jenkins Alumona the Govt Officer of Flykite Productions, organizers of GOtv Boxing Night time?
Jenkins and I’ve been collectively for thus lengthy from once I was a member of novice boxing board in Lagos. I’ve been on the board prior to now when Jenkins was the vice chairman however after they made him chairman of the affiliation, I opted to return again. Seeing him, I do know he has love for the sport and that has taken him to the place he’s at the moment. I wish to use this medium to induce him to maintain doing extra for the betterment of the sport and am positive in the future, he will certainly have his reward.