By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
Boxers scheduled to fight at GOtv Boxing Night 10 have stepped up their preparations for the event holding at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium on 26 December. All the boxers except Tanzania’s Meshack “Smart Boy” Mwankemwa, are in camp in Lagos honing their skills in readiness for the tournament, which has a cash prize of N1.5million for the best boxer.
Stanley “Edo Boy” Eribo, who takes on Mwankemwa for the African Boxing Union welterweight title, said his preparation for the fight have been the most grueling of his career.
“This is different. This is a continental title bout and I want to win the title and bring smiles to the faces of Nigeria. I have been training harder than I have ever done because I need to win and I must win. Smart Boy will know that Edo Boy is a better boxer and Nigeria is a bigger country,” he boasted.
Olaide “Fijaborn” Fijabi, who defends his West African Boxing Union light welterweight title against Ghana’s Raphael “Iron King” Kwabena, also spoke in similar vein. Fijabi, whose duel with the same opponent at GOtv Boxing Night 9 is widely regarded as his toughest ever fight, said things will be different at GOtv Boxing Night 10. At GOtv Boxing Night 9, Fijabi won by a split decision. This time, the Nigerian vowed, his opponent will not last the distance.
“Being a title fight, my preparation has been different. Kwabena is a strong boxer, but I now know what will make him lose the fight within the distance. He will meet a different Fijabi. Please, tell him. I am happy that this rematch is a title fight. There will be no hiding place for him,” he said.
Similarly looking to reinforce his status is Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph, national lightweight champion, whose challenge duel with former champion, Nurudueen “Prince” Fatai, already has bad blood written all over it.
Last week, the two boxers had to be pulled apart on a radio programme, following frayed tempers.
In two previous encounters, including an epic title fight, Joe Boy defeated his opponent, a development that the feisty Fatai has not been able to live down.
“Prince (Fatai) will be beaten again. He is my ‘customer’. I am working hard towards doing that and will do just that for my fans,” he said. Fatai, however, said he wants to use the challenge duel as a platform to reclaim his title and is ready for whatever Joe Boy wants to throw at him.
National and West African featherweight champion, Waidi “Skoro” Usman, who takes on former national champion, Dare “Fighting Machine” Oyewole disclosed that he understands his opponent desperation to fight him and is getting fully prepared to hand him second defeat.
“I defeated him to win the national title. That is why he is crazy to fight me again. The decision he has taken is one that he will regret. I have sunk my whole being into the preparation, knowing I am facing someone seeking revenge. He will not have any revenge,” Skoro said dismissively.
Other fights scheduled for the event are the lightweight challenge contest between Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu and Prince ‘Lion” Nwoye, light welterweight challenge duel pitting Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde against Sikiru “Omo Iya Eleja” Shogbesan and a light heavyweight challenge clash between Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi and Felix “Man Mopol” Igwe.
The quartet of Fijabi, Joe Boy, Eribo and Skoro were separately adjudged boxers at previous editions, with Joe Boy winning a record of three times. Fijabi has won twice, while each of Skoro and Eribo has done so once. Eribo, however, has won the biggest ever amount, netting N1.5million last December. The others won N1million each.