…….As semi finalists begin to emerge

By Kingsley Abavo, Benin

Boxing event at the Oba Akenzua cultural centre, Benin

On Friday, 9 April, 2021, the boxing event holding at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre in Benin-City, in the ongoing National Sports Festival, was characterized by hitches which threatened to take the shine off the game.

It all started when the quarter final stage of the boxing competition began at 12:56p.m, almost an hour behind schedule without any explanation from the officials.

The total of 30 bouts in the different weight categories were on schedule for the day.

But intermittently, the smooth flow of the competition was disrupted with the base of the boxing canvas breaking apart at various points, and officials had to do emergency repair to enable the game continue.

The situation was so bad, that the competing boxers would trip over when they unconsciously stepped into the valley like spots created on the canvas, by the damage occasioned from pressure of their weight.

This happened repeatedly no less than five times, that the ‘Technical Committee of the Nigeria Boxing Federation, (NBF) was forced to stop the competition till the morning of the next day: Saturday.

The bouts between Osun and Imo States, Enugu and Edo States in the +91KG category; Male were deferred to the morning of Saturday.

This was to enable officials provide a better canvas base for the competing boxers, it was said.

Angry spectators were pissed off with the scenario many referred to as an eyesore, and a dent on the quality of organization provided by the Local Organising Committee (LOC), for an event as huge as the boxing event in the NSF.

What is happening, is an indication that the canvas base provided by the organizers for this competition is inferior, and it is sad. Obviously, it is negatively impacting quality of of delivery of the competitors, many lamented.

In an event in which Nigeria’s representatives to the next Olympics games will be selected, expectedly, the organizers should have done better than this, they added.

However, semi – finalists have begun to emerge.

In the 60KG Female category; Ogun defeated Ondo State 5-0 to emerge; Lagos defeated Kwara 4-1; Ekiti emerged victorious when the referee stopped the game in the second round sensing the opponent; Ekiti State representative would not survive the onslaught.

In the 75KG Male category, Ondo was defeated by Borno; Kaduna was victorious against Enugu State 4-1; Federal Capital Territory was defeated by Bayelsa State 4-1; and Kwara qualified defeating Niger by 4-1.

64KG Female category, Nasarawa State could not survive the onslaught of Ondo State who won  4-1; Gwombe was defeated by Ogun State 5-0 to qualify for the semi final stage of the competition.

In the 69KG Female category; Ogun emerged victorious against Delta’s representative after the referee stopped the game in the second round to save her from further punishment. While Lagos State qualified for the semi final stage beating Kano State 5-0 unanimous decision of the judges.

In the 81KG Male category; Kano State could not survive the punches of Zamfara State’s representative who scored 4-1 in points. Bayelsa State won 4-1 against Ondo; Delta State scored 3.2 to emerge against Oyo.

In the 75KG Female category; Edo State walked over Kogi to qualify.

In the 81KG Female category Kano State could not match the punching power of Edo State representative who got unanimous decision of the judges to qualify, Bayelsa State qualified beating Akwa-Ibom 3.2; and Delta State beat her opponent of Imo with the unanimous decision of the judges, 3.0

In the 81 KG Female category; Ondo qualified beating Edo 4.1, and Delta got the unanimous decision of the judges of 5.0 against Akwa-Ibom State.

In the Male 91KG category; Lagos defeated Zamfara State’s representative via walk-over, while Edo qualified punching his opponent of the FCT silly to force the referee to halt the game mid way, into the third round.

Also, Ondo State won after the referee halted  the game early in the first round as the Yobe representative struggled to stand up from a fall caused by a left hand hook of the Victor.  This is as River State scored 4.1 decision of the judges to qualify against Ogun State.

In the +91KG Male category; Borno was declared winner against Abia , and Delta pumeled the representative of Rivers State who was saved by the referee in the second round sensing he had no gas to continue the fight.