By James Agberebi in Ibadan: The third edition of the GOtv Boxing Next Gen Search was officially opened on Friday, November 17, 2017, at the Wallan Hotel (formely D Rovans Hotel) in Ibadan, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The official opening ceremony was done at a media briefing held also on Friday at the Gymnasium of the Wallan Hotel.
Present at the media briefing were Jennifer Ukoh, Public Relations Manager, GOtv; Jenkins Alumona, Chief Executive Officer, Flykite Productions and Remi Aboderin, Secretary General, Nigeria Boxing Board of Control.
According to Alumona, over 300 aspiring boxers from Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Plateau States registered for the third edition.
He stated that participating boxers who must be aged between 18 and 25, have been undergoing sparring sessions which started on Thursday under the watchful eyes of former Nigeria national boxing coaches Joe Mensah, Obisia Nwakpa and Jeremiah Okorodudu.
He also revealed that the programme which will end on Saturday, November 18, will see outstanding boxers selected by the coaches with Chairman, Multichoice, Adewunmi Ogunsanya paying for their professional license and medical examination.
Commenting on the response by boxers, Mensah who represented Nigeria at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games stated that their aim was to get young talented boxers who can become world champions in the future.
“The turn out has been very encouraging,” Mensah told Completesportsnigeria.com. “But the only thing is that we have more of novices than good boxers. We will try and spot the potential ones among the boxers and try to influence GOtv and Flykite to give them a formal training to go into professional boxing because they are still very raw. There is a difference between a professional training and amateur training. So that’s what we are recommending to GOtv through Flykite.
“Among what we are looking for are young boxers who can be groomed to become the best. If Mike Tyson can become a world champion at age 19, you could imagine what will happen with these young boxers.
“We are looking forward to getting the young ones to start boxing, but because of the educational system in Nigeria, boxing is not included in NUGA (Nigeria University Games). Until boxing is included in NUGA, it will still be far away from achieving its objectives in Nigeria.”
Also, Los Angeles 1984 Olympian, Okorodudu, said that despite the obvious lack of knowledge of boxing by most of the boxers, they will surely come good after going through proper training.
“I am confident that the GOtv Boxing Next Gen 3 will be a successful one because there are a lot of boxers that are here who we could select from. I believe it is going to be one of the best,” Okorodudu told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“Though, we’ve not really seen very outstanding boxers yet because most of them don’t have a good knowledge of boxing, but we’ve been able to identify a few ones. With good training, they will become good boxers.
“Like I said, most of them lack good knowledge about boxing, but I like the fact that they want to try their luck. They see GOtv Boxing Next Gen as an avenue where they can showcase their talent. But so far, it is okay.”
On the poor state of boxing in Nigeria, Okorodudu attributed it to poor funding.
He said: “Everything boils down to finance. Boxers need to attend competitions, both within and outside Nigeria, in order to improve. You cannot improve by just staying in Nigeria without taking part in any competition. We need sponsors. Even sports generally in Nigeria need help. We need the government to pump in more money into sports like it used to be.”