…Recounts his sweet-bitter experience on the pulpit
By Benjamin Njoku
FORMER WBA light heavyweight, British and Commonwealth boxing champion, Peter Oboh,who dumped his boxing career to win souls for God few years back, went down memory recently, declaring that his greatest regrets remain his inability to seek recognition back home.
Oboh was popularly known for his impressive knockout of former top light heavyweight contender, Ole Klemensten. He fought other fighters like WBO Cruiserweight champ, Johnny Neilson and Scot Welch before he hung up the gloves.
In a recent chat with Sidebeat, the former boxing champion regretted that while he was celebrated as a boxer under the British flag, he didn’t deem it necessary to seek recognition back home.
This, he said was the mistake he made during his heydays. He gave instances of another boxing champion, Joshua who according to him, had a dual citizenship(Britain and Nigeria), yet he maintained contact with his roots. “If I can rewrite history, I would have used my dual citizenship to my advantage. I am celebrated more in the UK than I am celebrated in Nigeria. The last time I travelled to the UK, I was given a standing ovation as a former boxing champion ,” he said.
Oboh was a fine boxer and one of the few Nigerian boxers to take their skill to Europe in the 1990s. At his highpoint, Oboh unified the British Boxing Board of Control,BBBofC,light heavyweight title, the World Boxing Association,WBA, Inter-Continental light heavyweight title and the Commonwealth light heavyweight title under him. But all these he gave up when God called him to work in His vineyard. At first, the crave for fortune and fame nearly beclouded him until the big fights stopped coming his way. “I was doing well in church even as a boxer but at a point I knew I had to stop, that the Lord was calling me. I was, however, stubborn about it until I realized that the fights stopped coming my way,” he narrated.
“I was the British champion but nobody was interested in fighting me. I was unbeatable then, I knew the skill was there, experience was there and I could handle any boxer in the world at that time but I kept having all kinds of dream; I knew the Lord was calling me for ministry but I had to make a choice either to say yes to the calling or say no.”
“I resisted at first, but it got to a point I had no other choice than to answer God’s call. While I was still the British Champion, I started performing miracles even in churches when I prayed people got healed. That was the evidence that God was calling me and a manifestation of the gift of God,”he recounted. “So I knew I had no excuse in not accepting because it was really clear, and when I look back now, I know I’m more useful to God and humans as a pastor than a boxer,” he added.
Meanwhile, recounting his sweet-bitter experience on the pulpit, the former boxing champion said
“Many people are expecting much from me as a boxing champion but they are disappointed because I am not throwing money around.”
Oboh, spoke to Sidebeat as he was recently in court, following a case of blackmail he brought against one Kabiru Maiyegun who claimed that the erstwhile boxing champion hired seven hefty men to beat him up for refusing to publicize a false miracle he performed in the national dailies. But luck ran out on the middle-aged man after the police investigated the matter and discovered that the medical report he tendered as an evident before the court was forged.
Oboh, who’s planning to set up his own TV ministry which he introduced while he was in the United Kingdom, has been careful relating with people at different levels in the cause of spreading the gospel of salvation.
Admitting that his pulpit experience has been wonderful, the Edo State-born former boxing champion expressed reservations following the way and manner Christianity is practiced in this part of the world.
“Because I am a former Commonwealth light heavyweight champion, which means I have millions. Even if I have million, I’m wiser. I earned my money in a hard way, so I wouldn’t like to be throwing money around. And that’s what most people are not getting from me,” he enthused.
Oboh, who initially resisted God’s calling to serve Him, said his greatest surprise as a pastor is that he never knew there are so many fake Christians in Nigeria who pretend as if they want to assist a man of God, when their hearts they are planning on how to dupe him. “As a man of God, you don’t have to reject people who come around you. But unfortunately, I met someone like that , which I regretted ever coming in contact with him,” Oboh further narrated.
On whether, he has been well celebrated in the country as an ex-boxing champion, Oboh said ‘its neither here nor there’ adding that while he was plying his trade as a boxer under the British flag, he didn’t seek recognition back home.