Nigeria has produced boxing legends who till date ranked among the best around the world. Great boxers like Hogan ‘Kid’ Bassey, Bash Ali, Dick Tiger as well as Samuel Peter have all at one time or the other, shown the boxing world that the most populous black nation can equally compete with the best of the best. However, in the last three decades, the most popular sport in Nigeria lacked sponsorship which was gradually leading boxing to extinction in the country. With the emergence of the Multichoice sponsored GOtv Boxing Night and other local boxing tournaments hosted by the Lagos state government, the sport is beginning to gain its lost recognition and the following boxers are making waves in and outside the country.
Here are 5 Nigerian boxers that may shock the world in 2016.
- Isaac Ekpo: Popularly known as the ‘Grenade’. Ekpo started his professional boxing career in 2005 in the super middleweight division. He owns a massive record of 28 wins (21Kos) but lost to Robert Stieglitz of Germany by unanimous decision, in his bid to claim the WBO title 2013 Ekpo is more of a tiger when inside the boxing ring. ‘Grenade’ pummelled Burkina Faso’s Jules Kabore heavily at the GOtv Boxing Night IV inside the Indoor Sports Hall of the National stadium, Surulere-Lagos. Kabore’s manager had no choice than to throw-in the towel at the start of the 4th round in that massive encounter. He will be gunning for the WBO title in 2016.
- Otto Joseph: ‘Joe Boy‘ is a sensational youngster in the lightweight category. Making his debut on March 15, 2015, Otto condemned Kehinde Badmus to a second round defeat at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National stadium, Surulere-Lagos, sending strong signals he is very much prepared for a lasting boxing career. The swift fighter also defeated Lagos and Nigeria’s current lightweight champion, Prince Nurudeen as he was adjudged the winner by split decision on October 10, 2015.
Not only was he awarded the best fight of that night, Otto Joseph won the N1million prize money and the Mojisola Adesanya award at the GOtv Boxing Night IV edition.
- Olaide ‘Fijaborn’ Fijabi (Nigeria’s Super Lightweight Current Champion): Grew up in ghettos of Lagos. Fijabi a household name in the Lagos boxing community, and earns massive followership in the state. ‘Fijaborn’ had his boxing berth on March 15, 2015, when he defeated Waliu Arogundade by unanimous decision after six rounds at the indoor sports hall of the national stadium in Lagos. He has won all his four professional bouts with the latest one on Boxing Day of 2015 where Sadiq ‘Police Machine’ Ahmed conceded his national super lightweight title to him after just four founds. Very talented as well as skillfull, Fijaborn is so fierce in the boxing ring. He would be contending for the ABU title anytime in 2016.
- Larry Ekundayo: Larry, also known as ‘The Natural’ is a Nigerian born boxer based in the United Kingdom. The Natural has a career record of 11wins and yet to lose or draw any fight. The 33-year old defeated Ghana’s boxing maestro, Joseph Lamptey, on October 30 in London, to become the new African Boxing Union’s Welterweight Champion. His next task will be to become the Commonwealth champion.
5: Stanley Eribo: Stanley turned professional in 2011 after a successful amateur career with the Edo State Sports Council. He has had twelve professional appearances, winning all the twelve fights; six via knockout and five by points Also known as ‘Edo Boy’; Stanley was adjudged the best boxer of the GOtv Boxing Night V at the Indoor Sports Hall of the national stadium, in Surulere Lagos, which automatically makes him the winner of the highest prize money in Nigerian boxing of N1.5million and the Mojisola Ogunsanya trophy