Gotv Boxing Night 15 which held at the Indoor Sports Hall of Obafemi Awolowo (formerly Liberty) Stadium, Ibadan July 29, was one of the few memorable nights boxing fans in the ancient city may have experienced in a very long while. It was a night where boxers exhibited skill and talent.
They were brutish and clinical in their delivery. The venue was excellent, the setting electrifying and the fans who defied the heavy downpour gave their all on a night they will always live to remember.
The capacity crowd which also included the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111 was kept on the edge of their seats throughout as the boxers exhibited grit and determination.
There were seven bouts altogether but not all met the desired standard, particularly the bout between Vincent Essien and Segun Olalehin which the referee deservedly stopped in the second round as a no contest. The boxers put up what was a poor representation of Nigerian boxing as they resorted to wrestling down each other without throwing a punch. Sadly, GOtv was beaming the fight live to over 50 African countries.
On the flip side, boxers like Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph who, despite having a tough customer in Ghana’s Nathaniel Nukpe(a very good boxer), put up a rugged spirit to ensure he retained his African Boxing Union lightweight belt. It was a fight that kept die hard Nigerian fans apprehensive as the Ghanaian returned every punch thrown at him but found the Nigerian pugilist too tough contend with. Oto Boy won through unanimous points decision.
Also on the night, home boy Ridwan “Scorpion” Oyekola, a product of GOtv Boxing NextGen Search, won N1million after emerging the best boxer of the night. Oyekola, who was voted second best boxer at GOtv Boxing Night 13 last December, defeated Prince “Lion” Nwoye in a thrilling lightweight challenge bout. He was wildly cheered by the capacity crowd.
Another GOtv NextGen Search graduate, Michael “Lion Heart” Godwin knocked out Idowu “ID Cabasa” Okusote in a cruiserweight contest. Ibadan’s cult boxing hero, Akeem “Dodo” Sadiku, knocked out Franc Houanevgbe of the Republic of Benin in a middleweight duel. Olaide “Fijaborn” Fijabi, ABU light welterweight champion, defeated Kazeem “Iberu” Ariyo in a national challenge contest.
Daniel “Big Shark” Emeka defeated Sulaimon “Olags” Adeosun in the light heavyweight division.
In terms of organisation, GOtv Boxing Night 15 tallied high. However, there were a few visible hiccups, like the plastic mat which made the night dreadful for some of the boxers. Not one boxer slipped and fell on the slippery canvass, a situation which many wondered why the organisers did not get the appropriate material for the ring.
The night was special to one fan, who simply called herself, Mercy. Mercy came all the way from Akure to watch the boxing show and she was relentless about her support for the pugilists, particularly Joe Boy. She sang, danced and yearned for more action. Mercy will live to remember GOtv Boxing Night 15, like none other before it.