By Onochie Anibeze
Former Boxing Association Chairman, David Johnson yesterday walked out of the boxing arena of the ongoing National Sports Festival, hissing, lamenting and even cursing over the poor standard of boxing , a sport that once counted for Nigeria in international outings.
The sport had, for long, taken a plunge in the country but Johnson expected to see some potentials and hoped that the challenge would be the ability to transform them.
“I saw absolutely nothing. Everything was wrong about boxing and one felt like crying,” Johnson said, shaking the head in disappointment and using some harsh words to describe the events in boxing. He spoke further:
“First, the venue was not good enough. Using the gym as venue for a festival of this magnitude showed that officials and organisers lacked the depth to appreciate boxing. Then the boxers the states paraded were awful. I went to see boxing bouts but I did not see boxers.
The states are not helping matters in our sports development. And if the states can’t get it right, then we should all forget about developing sports in this country. It is the responsibility of the states to produce athletes before the national bodies will take over. And where the states are not producing, then there’s big problem.
The boxers I saw were not good at all. They were no boxers. They fought like people who were not coached at all.
They were wrongly selected and wrongly coached. It is a shame, a big one for a country that once had a future in the sport.
I also blame the media for not raising enough alarm on what is happening to boxing. Without the media we can not develop sports and the earlier our sports journalists realised this the better.
They are more interested in foreign news than what is happening here in our country.
For now, I count them as among those responsible for the plunge our sports, especially boxing, has taken. Boxing is dead inNigeria. It doesn’t exist anymore.Nigeriacan do better.”
State G S B Total
Delta 42 36 36 104
Rivers 32 21 25 78
Lagos 18 18 30 56
Edo 13 9 19 41
Bayelsa 13 7 12 32
Plateau 5 6 12 23
Ogun 4 11 15 30
Ondo 4 5 8 17
A/Ibom 3 8 8 19
C/River 3 6 6 15
…as at 7 p.m.