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Africa Sports News of Monday, 15 March 2021

Source: Mary Nnah, Contributor

USA-based boxer solicits sponsorship for boxing in Nigeria

27-year-old Nigerian-American born amateur boxer cum entertainer, Abimbola Abel Osundairo, has enjoined Nigerian youths to diligently follow their passion to the point of global recognition and celebration.

Popularly known as Bola Osundairo, also called on the Nigerian government to show more interest in boxing as a sport and help it to grow.

The Chicago-based boxer who is also into movies as an actor disclosed in a telephone chat that: Nigerian youths have great talents and are waiting to explore opportunities.

He noted that boxing as a sport is presently more of entertainment and not a sport as brutal as it used to be on the continent.

Osundairo insisted the sport can create jobs for millions of Nigerian youths should the government as well as corporate organisations in the country would invest in it.

While encouraging the youth to take up the sport with passion, Osundairo reeled out some of the criteria for qualifying as a good boxer: “A boxer needs at least four people for about; coaches, physician and manager. It’s easy to be a boxer, and in actual fact, anybody can be a boxer. All you need is the interest as long as you are medically fit.”

While appealing that a license and boxing kits should be provided for anyone who has an interest in the sport, Osundairo added, “Once you put on gloves and get into the ring you either get beaten or you beat your opponent.

“But I don’t get punched, I make sure I dodge all the punches, I fight to punch”, he added jokingly.

Speaking further he said, “I am a good amateur boxer and I have been training hard and have fought 12 fights with no defeat, I have won all the fights I got involved in.”

“I have participated in many boxing programmes in Chicago, and I want to represent my country at international meetings, Olympics and other boxing competition. If I can get the endorsement, I want to represent Nigeria at the Olympic Games”, he noted further.

The 27-year-old boxer who started off three years ago has been doing great.

“I have the materials, passion, capacity, physique, skill and medical fitness to engage in the sport here in Nigeria but I am requesting for an enabling environment to prove my worth.

“How do I get endorsements when there are too many sanctions? I am a US-born Nigerian boxer and want to bring honour to my country if I would be given the platform to train at the grassroots level.

Osundairo who revealed further that although each time he visits Nigeria, he trains people at the Ikeja Police College under Coach Mohammed, noted that such alone was not enough to get the attention of government who need to improve and invest in boxing.

“It is unfortunate that our leaders have not been able to invest in boxing as a sport. They prefer a finished product, and neglect raw material. While in developed nations, the western countries see the raw talent and scout them for a proper train to become world champions”, he lamented.

“Beyond money, the right policy must be put in place. This is what will bring sponsorship and money. What do I mean by enabling environment? Nigeria government needs to make a policy statement that will make corporate bodies know that they should invest in Nigerian sports. The best of our boxers are abroad. They are doing well and are willing to come back to Nigeria but they need a conducive environment where they can display their talents.

“Boxing in Nigeria should be taken to the next level and I don’t think is a hard job to do, but everything depends solely on how the people involved in the business take it.

“There are so many Nigerian talented combat sports athletes but they lack the platform to showcase their talents or won’t be selected to represent a state due to politics.”

Osundairo concluded by appealing to government to break the odds and allow boxing to flourish and allow those with talents to reap the dividends there in the sport.

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