Ex African Champion Canvasses New Boxing Culture

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Minister of youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare

By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos 


Former  National and African Lightweight champion, Joe Lasisi has said that unless Nigeria develops  a new boxing culture, the pugilist game will continue to witness dwindling fortune in the country.

Lasisi who is not happy  that Nigeria is now playing  second fiddle in the sports told our correspondent  that the country must go back to the basics in order to re-position the game that gave it glory in the past and enabled her have many World, Commonwealth and African champions in various weight categories.

” It’s quite unfortunate that Nigeria which in the past was known for producing quality boxers  both at the amateur and paid ranks  is now  nowhere to be found in the game”, began Lasisi who was known as ‘Smoking Joe’ during his illustrious boxing career.

” Apart from few Nigerian  boxers in the Diaspora, who are fighting in the colours of their adopted countries, we cannot lay claim to any  of our boxer that is ruling the game right now. or are top contenders in the various boxing bodies whether at the WBC, WBA, IBO, WBO or IBF.

” The amateur cadre is also not different because these days Nigerian pugilists are struggling to pick Olympics and Commonwealth qualifiers  which is an anomaly and must be corrected before its too late.

The one time No 1 contender to the WBA Lightweight title held then by Vigil Hills of the United States of America, explained that for the sports to regain its lost glory in the country, concerted efforts must be made  for aggressive grassroots development of the game  and re- introduction of regional and national boxing championships like the Eagle belt of old  where talents could be discovered and nurtured to stardom.

” I’ ve said it several times that  we need proper grassroots development of the game as was done in our own time. There must also be regional and national championships where talent would be discovered while coaches must be sent on refresher courses to up date their knowledge of the game.

” Although,  there is now a newly introduced boxing league  which was introduced by some people in partnership with the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF) but this must be sustained and those behind it encouraged morally and financially to enable them succeed”, concluded the former Custom officer.

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