Tomorrow at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos, many eyes will be on Olaide “Fijaborn” Fijabi, who will defend his West African Boxing Union light welterweight title against Ghana’s Raphael “Iron King” Kwabena. The bout, one of the two title encounters at GOtv Boxing Night 10, is the meeting of intimate strangers. Both boxers met at GOtv Boxing Night 9 in October, with Fijabi winning via a split decision.
Kwabena, at the press conference before the October bout, declared that he had watched many of Fijabi’s fights at previous editions of GOtv Boxing Night, something that helped him avoid the customary blitz of punches and quick defeat.
Kwabena, a physically imposing boxer, adopted a purely functional approach that largely neutered Fijabi’s freewheeling style. He succeeded in curtailing the Nigerian’s punching powers with an impressive defence strategy and delivered his own punches when necessary. The judges declared Fijabi winner.
Many in the crowd had never seen Fijabi restrained in that manner and concluded that his victory was debatable
Fijabi said he has learnt lessons from the last encounter and hopes to use such lessons to his advantage.
Stanley “Edo Boy” Eribo, the Nigerian involved in the African Boxing Union welterweight title bout on the night, may have a similar disadvantage to what Fijabi suffered in his first encounter with King. His opponent, Stanley “Smart Boy” Mwankemwa, Tanzanian national champion, most likely, has watched Eribo’s fights. GOtv Boxing Night is shown live by SuperSport in 47 African countries. Edo Boy, probably, does not know exactly what to expect of his opponent.
In sport, familiarity tends to breed stalemate. This, however, is not likely to be the case in the lightweight challenge duel between national champion, Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph and Nurudeen “Prince” Fatai, the man he dethroned. The two previous fights between them, including the title fight, were firecrackers and won by Joe Boy. The encounters have produced a running stream of bad blood between the duo.
This has been marked by two near-clashes on radio programmes. The featherweight division will also feature familiar foes in the shape of Waidi “Skoro” Usman, national featherweight champion, and Dare “Fighting Machine” Oyewole, the former champion. Fighting Machine still seethes at the loss of his title to Skoro.
The other lightweight duel features Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu and Prince “Lion” Nwoye, who are fighting each other for the first time.
The same applies in the light welterweight division, which will see Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde take on Sikiru “Omo Iya Eleja” Sogbesan, and the lightweight category featuring Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi and Emmanuel “Man Mopol” Igwe.
The best boxer at the event will go home with a cash prize of N1.5million.