Seasoned administrator wants improved prize money for professional boxers in Nigeria
The Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBBC) has frowned at the lack of proper funding for professional boxing in the country, saying that the game needs to be taken from the current meager prize money to financial success for the boxers.
Not a few Nigerian boxers have migrated to more fashionable boxing destinations, where they pledged allegiance to their host countries due to a more conducive sports business environment, with some of them going on to win hitherto elusive continental and world titles. For instance, Ola Afolabi, who recently won the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) cruiserweight belt, ditched Nigeria to fight in the colours of Britain.
Speaking in an interview with The UNION in Lagos, the secretary of the NBBC, Remi Aboderin, said as the body in charge of professional boxing in Nigeria, the body tries its best in making sure that boxers go home with “something” after engaging in bouts, but more could be done.
“Professional boxing in Nigeria is generating money, it’s not mere entertainment,” he said. “In the Nigerian context you don’t expect them to fight and get N500, 000 or N1 million, we’re still building the sport.
“What we do is what also obtains in Ghana, where a pro boxer gets a promoter or manager who looks for fights for him.
“But it’s basically for the boxer to engage in elimination fights, which do not fetch money. It is when the boxer gets to a position where he challenge for a title that we can now talk about money, and along the line the boxer and his manager must have decided on the ratio they want the money split.”
Aboderin, who doubles as President of the African Boxing Union (West Africa Region), said it is the business of corporate firms to give the necessary support so that boxers can live a better life and aspire to rule the world in their respective divisions.
– Oladipo Okubanjo