Boxing is a sport loved by many Nigerians and the sport has produced some of the best boxers in the world, who have gone ahead to become world champions. However, boxing in Nigeria took a nose dive from the loved sport that produced world champions to having no prominent boxer. This was brought on by lack of infrastructure, government and private sector support, infrequent boxing promotions, among other issues.
While other brands sponsored the more popular sports such as football, basketball, tennis, GOtv Nigeria committed itself to reviving boxing with the talent development initiative, GOtv Boxing NextGen Search and GOtv Boxing Night which has become the most successful boxing show, not just in Nigeria but the whole of Africa.
GOtv Nigeria began the GOtv Next gen Search, a talent hunt programme, to source for talented young boxers and accelerate their entry into professional ranks by paying for their pro-boxing licences, medical examinations and pre-bout camping with tutelage from accomplished coaches.
The boxers are also provided an opportunity to fight at the frequent GOtv Boxing Night events which not only improves their ranking and chance to become champions but also provides them with the opportunity to win the cash prize of N1million or more attached to the Mojisola Ogunsanya Memorial Trophy for best boxer.
The company’s support has been applauded by many, both in Nigeria and across African continent.
Speaking at an interview recently, an alumnus of the GOtv Next Gen Search who has grown to become a professional boxer and the current welterweight champion, Rilwan ‘Baby Face’ Babatunde, expressed his gratitude to GOtv for bringing him into limelight and changing his life forever.
“Being discovered through GOtv Next Gen really changed my life. GOtv helped me to achieve my dreams of becoming a professional boxer, I have won the best boxer award at the GOtv Boxing Night which has helped me to pay my bills and take care of my family, I am also currently building my house. I really thank GOtv Nigeria for supporting us and providing a means of income for us while also helping us achieve our dreams. I will forever be grateful to GOtv,” said Babatunde.
Also speaking in an interview, recently, on GOtv’s impact, Coach Joe Mensah, a renowned Nigerian boxing coach lauded the organization for reviving the sport in Nigeria.
“Boxing was dead in the country until GOtv came with the boxing night. Many talents were turning away from the sport because there were no promotions, no competitions for them and they lacked the opportunity to showcase their talent. We can see that the game has picked up and boxers now have a platform to showcase their talents and advance their careers through the GOtv boxing night,” said Mensah.
The accolades continue as Nigerian boxing stakeholders also applaud GOtv Nigeria. President of the West African Boxing Union (WABU), Remi Aboderin, commended GOtv Nigeria for taking the boxing sport in Nigeria to the next level.
“It is undisputable that GOtv Boxing Night is the most regular platform on which our professional boxers get to fight, GOtv Nigeria has been contributing hugely to the sport through the GOtv Boxing Night and GOtv Boxing NextGen Search and I can say they are the biggest supporters of the sport in Africa. I really commend the organization for their efforts and their commitment to the develop of boxing in Nigeria. I will also encourage other corporate organizations to join GOtv Nigeria and support Nigerian boxing so we can move the sport to higher heights. one for which most boxers aim. But with GOtv Boxing Night Mini, additional fight opportunities have been presented and many more boxers can benefit,” he said.
Speaking on the company’s dedication to the sport, The Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe said, “Few years ago, we decided to take boxing as one of our projects because we saw how badly the sport was doing in Nigeria, and since then we have not looked back. One of the things that keeps us dedicated to reviving and promoting the sport is the fulfillment it gives the boxers and their fans. During the GOtv Boxing Nights, the National Stadium Indoor Sports Hall is usually filled up to capacity, and we have boxers now wining 1million naira, 1.5million as best boxers, and we’re changing their lives. It’s not just about the money, but the fact that they now have something to do. They are practicing what they love and getting better at it, there is a destination for them and there is hope for boxing in Nigeria”.
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