GOtv, Flykite Changing the Face of Boxing in Nigeria

first_imgBy Kunle AdewaleIn the 60s up to the mid 90s boxing was one of the most popular sports in Nigeria. Names like Dick Tiger, Hogan Kid Bassey, Davidson Andeh, Hogan Jimoh, Obisa Nnwakpa, Joe Lasisi, Jeremiah Okorodudu readily come to mind whenever boxing is mentioned in Nigeria. Little wonder, the country’s first medal in the Olympics came from boxing- a bronze medal, courtesy of Nojim Maiyegun at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.By the turn of the century, however, boxing had become a shadow of what we use to know. It was no longer an attractive sport and new boxers were not emerging until Flykite and GOtv came to the rescue- a mission to revive boxing in Nigeria.At the first edition of GOtv Boxing Night, the Managing Director of Flykite, organisers of the tournament was very optimistic that with what his organisation and sponsors, GOtv had mapped out, the face of boxing in Nigeria would change in a short while.And true to type in four years, GOtv Boxing Night had witnessed its 15th edition, with some of the products winning the African Boxing Union title and fighting for the International Boxing Federation title.The General Manager, Marketing and Sales, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho, however, said, “Boxing is a very good sport and we are proud to be part of the success story so far; however, were are not there yet, we have to keep going. We have to make necessary adjustments to push the boxers to be at their best and encourage upcoming ones to love the sport and be prepared to make their name in the industry.”To ensure that there are no paucity of boxers, hence the idea of the GOtv NextGen was muted by Flykite.“The NextGen programme was set to produce young boxers and no fewer than 100 amateur and semi-pro boxers turned up and use the Gotv platform to prove their worth and launch themselves to international recognition. Rilwan “Babyface’’ Babatunde, a prodigy of the NextGen programme has currently gone ahead to earn his bragging rights emerging the best boxer of the 11th GotvBoxing Night,” Alumona said.After the successes recorded in Lagos with the GOtv Boxing Night, the organisers felt the need for another state to have a feel of the competition, hence, in March last year, the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan (formerly Liberty Stadium) was the venue and Ibadan fans did not disappoint as they trooped in large numbers to fill the Indoor Sports Hall of the stadium.Encouraged by the successes recorded during last year’s edition, last Sunday’s edition, which was the 15th in the series returned to Ibadan and the fans showed they were true boxing lovers as they defied the heavy downpour that rained for several hours in the ancient city of Ibadan to troop into the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium.“Ibadan people have demonstrated their love for boxing the last time GOtv Boxing Night was held there by defying the rain, but that does not say that we were not apprehensive that the heavy downpour that rained for hours could lead to a low turnout. But against all odds, the Indoor Sports Hall of the stadium was filled to capacity,” COO of Flykite, Bamidele Johnson told THISDAY.Asked if he ever believes that GOtv Boxing Night would have gotten to the level it has reached now when it started four years ago, he reacted thus: “If we are not optimistic that we could revive boxing we would not have ventured into it in the first place. We realised that Nigerians love boxing but poor organisation and funding had always been the bane, and these are some of the things Flykite and GOtv had come to correct.”Johnson, however, admitted that the competition had grown faster than the organisers had imagined but said it is still not yet Eldorado.“GOtv Boxing Night has grown faster than we imagined but we are not satisfied yet, though we have seen a lot of progress. GOtv boxers winning Africa and West African titles, and just last Sunday, one of the standout boxer of the tournament, Waidi‘Skoro’ Usman, fought for an international boxing title in South Africa,” Jonhson said.Meanwhile, the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, who was one of the dignitaries that graced the Sunday’s GOtvBoxing Night said it would “become a centrepiece in Nigeria.”“No doubt, GOtv boxing is contributing to the development of boxing in Nigeria. I commend that and appeal to other organisations that promote boxing to adopt this initiative,” Adeyemi said.On a night in which fans were treated to great boxing entertainment, Nigeria’s Oto Joseph retained his African Boxing Union (ABU) Lightweight title by defeating Ghana’s Nathaniel Nukpe, while Ridwan Oyekola, a product of GOtv Boxing NextGenSearch, won N1million for emerging the best boxer of the night.Oyekola defeated Prince Nwoye in a thrilling Lightweight challenge bout and was wildly cheered by the capacity crowd. Another GOtv NextGen Search graduate, Michael Godwin knocked out Idowu Okusote in a Cruiserweight contest.Ibadan’s cult boxing hero, Akeem “Dodo” Sadiku, knocked out Franc Houanevgbe of the Republic of Benin in a Middleweight duel, while Olaide Fijabi defeated Kazeem Ariyo in a national challenge contest.Unlike before when boxers looked shabby and unkempt, Nigeria boxers now look well fed and dresses well courtesy of good payday from GOtv Boxing Night and some of them are now acclaimed millionaires, courtesy of the Mojisola Ogunsaya one million naira prize money for the best boxer of the night.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Libonati: Blown chances in Wake Forest loss shatter Syracuse football’s bowl chances

first_imgThe Wake Forest snap flew over punter Dom Maggio’s head. It bounced toward the end zone as Maggio got to the ball. He started to curve away from the end zone as Parris Bennett reached around him and popped the ball loose. Then the cascade of Syracuse players, including Zaire Franklin, Ted Taylor and Eric Anthony, rumbled toward the end zone. Anthony was the farthest away from the ball, but none came up with it.Instead, Wake Forest’s Charles Argenzio landed on top of it. SU lost its opportunity for five more points, which would have been useful when it was down 14-9 and looking for any positives it could glean.“Just a bad play by me,” Franklin said. “That’s all, I’d say. Bad play by me and Ted. I don’t, I don’t know. Just a bad play. That’s all I can say.”But it was just one of the bad plays. And that’s the problem. The bad plays stacked up, outweighed the good ones and put Syracuse’s (2-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) chances at bowl eligibility in jeopardy. That’s not to say SU was expected to make a bowl game because it wasn’t. But SU was expected to put on a better showing than it did in the 19-point loss to a team it has beaten every year since the Orange entered the ACC.SU allowed the big plays that have buried the Orange all season, including a 37-yard touchdown run by Wake Forest (5-1, 2-1) quarterback John Wolford and WFU safety Cameron Glenn’s 83-yard fumble recovery touchdown. Those compounded the smaller errors, like not maximizing a scoring opportunity the Demon Deacons gifted the Orange.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE COVERAGE:Syracuse loses for third time in last four games, falling to 2-4 on the seasonCheck out the best stats from Syracuse-Wake ForestStorify: How did Syracuse fans react to the Orange’s 19-point loss to UND Published on October 9, 2016 at 1:48 am “We thought we had an opportunity to win to the very end,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said, “and we had some costly turnovers and some three and outs in some bad situations that really forced us to do some things down the stretch to kind of put it back into their favor.”Immediately after Syracuse dropped its fourth game of the season to Wake Forest, the hallway outside of its locker room filled up. Senior deputy director of athletics Herman Frazier stood in one spot, jostling his tie back and forth to loosen it. Cordell Hudson emerged from the locker room with a Syracuse hat wrapped around his head, the hood of his jacket up and lips pursed. Franklin stared past reporters, searching for answers good enough to satisfy questions about what went wrong against WFU.Because if there’s one understanding, it’s that this was a game Syracuse needed to win to keep its bowl chances realistic. Getting to six wins was going to be tough no matter what. SU likely had to beat Colgate, Connecticut, Wake Forest and Boston College, while scraping two wins out of games against South Florida, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.The loss to Wake Forest is the first game of the initial four the Orange has lost so far, but Pittsburgh looks as good as advertised and Virginia Tech has moved into the Top 25. The Hokies went on the road to beat North Carolina, another ranked team, 34-3, on Saturday. SU also dropped its matchup with South Florida.That leaves North Carolina State and Boston College as the most winnable games left on its schedule. The other four games are much tougher and will likely be considered major upsets if SU wins them.Ally Moreo | Asst. Photo EditorBabers began the week reiterating to fans that the “cake” he’s been baking was only in the batter stage, just being beaten together. So far, that’s been true. Most of what’s happened this season has been a product of problems other than coaching. He even let fans know that he was going to need time at the beginning of the season.Just like that first scoring play, SU has missed its chances all year, losing a first-quarter lead against South Florida, not keeping up with Notre Dame and blowing a winnable road game against Wake Forest.And because of that, they’ve continued proving Babers’ initial assessment right.Chris Libonati is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or @chrislibonati. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more