Ondo, Lagos remain Nigeria’s boxing powerhouse — Nairalovers

From the outcome of proceedings at the just concluded 20th  National Sports Festival  Edo 2020, it is now clear that Ondo and Lagos States remain  Nigeria’s boxing hub with  the exploits of their pugilists, writes SEGUN ADENUGA.

 

Ondo and Lagos States showed their class against the rest of the country in the boxing event of the 20th  National Sports Festival as both teams dominated the event with more gold medals than others.

In the women’s boxing bouts, Ondo emerged as the new champion after halting the reign of Lagos ladies in Benin City.

At the 2018 edition in Abuja, Lagos women boxers stole the show with five of its seven boxers claiming gold medals but in Benin, Ondo who are the new queens of Nigeria amateur boxing, led the medal table on technical ground, having secured two gold and two silver to tie with Delta.

But what  gave Ondo an edge was their consistency and aggressiveness.

It is no logic but simple mathematics calculation that Ondo boxers and their Delta counterparts were engaged in three final bouts, and Ondo were two-one winners.

And in tandem with the rules of amateur boxing, where there is no draw and a winner must emerge, Ondo has become the official champion of the Edo 2020 Boxing Championship.  Bravo, the lasses from the Sunshine State.

However, the golden gloves – Fatimah Aromokola, Adijat Gbadamosi, Olamide Mustapha, Tomiwa Sadiq and Aisat Oriyomi who won gold medalists for Lagos at Abuja 2018, were not functioning as they were caged by relatively unknown boxers, right from the preliminary stages. The most shocking was the early exit of prize-fighter Aisat Oriyomi, who lost to her Ogun State opponent, Yetunde Egunjobi in their 51kg encounter.

Lagos managed to present two in the finals and were unlucky to have lost the two for Silver medals as Kate Peter, who dumped Lagos for Edo, produce scintillating boxing skills to beat an equally methodical boxer, Blessing Oraekwe in what boxing fans described as the most entertaining bout of the Festival.

It was Blessing Smart of Delta State who smartly short-circuited Fatimo Aromokola’s ambition of another sport Festival gold medal as she lost to a 3-2 decision of the five judges.

In the men’s boxing event, Lagos State boxing team led by Aldulafeez Osoba garnered the highest gold medals in Benin.

After nine (9) days of fistic attraction at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, the Lagos 11-man boxing contingent made up of six males and five females put up a good show to reaffirm their quality against the rest of the country.

Again, the mobility and footwork were aptly in tandem with the rhythmic melody of the supporters inspiring songs that kept reverberating into the psyche of the Lagos boxers.

What a colourful display of carnival boxing as seven of the eleven boxers from Lagos State zoomed into finals on the 8th  and 9th  day respectively.

Sadly, April 13, 2021 would ever remain a gloomy day in the annals of Amateur boxing in the country as hoodlums, touts and gun-trotting hooligans turned boxing arena into theatre of bloodbath and acrimony in search of gold, Silver and  Bronze which could not cement our fragile and almost fragmented ethnic and religious differences.

They invaded the sacred Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, under the guise of supporting one team or the other should be told in plain language that Nigeria would, have long become an history if not for the unifying effect of sports that has been binding us together.

Once again, I salute Lagos State boxers for retaining their position as the leading boxing state in Nigeria.

My observation after watching 199 boxing bouts in nine (9) days is that Nigeria can produce another Hogan Kid Bassey, Dick Ihetu Tiger, Rafiu King Joe, Nojim Maiyegun, Isaac Ikhouria, Peter Kongyegwashi if we nurture the talents discovered at the games.

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