Hugh Guill: Govt Must Project Dambe for International Exposure Growth

Hugh Guill: Govt Must Project Dambe for International Exposure Growth

Hugh Guill is the Co-Founder of Africa Fighters League (AFL) and Dambe Warriors League (DWL). In this interview, he speaks on challenges of  local Dambe sport and how Nigeria can make the best of it to tap global opportunities

 Tell us about the Africa Fighters League and its mission

 The mission of AFL is to unite Africa around its warriors, honour, and traditions.

Starting with Dambe Warriors League, AFL will become the fastest growing combat sports and entertainment company in Africa and beyond.

Africa is bursting at the seams with phenomenal world class talented fighters in multiple disciplines. These fighting styles, artforms and talent have rarely been exposed outside of the African continent. Even within the continent, and within each Country, the distribution of this content has been lacking. This doesn’t even consider the massive diaspora opportunity that exists in the US, Europe and the United Kingdom. The fire and passion contained within these amazing fight styles is substantial. It will now be harnessed, distributed and properly managed by the new African Fighters League

What is Dambe Fighting?

 Dambe fights involve two warriors who use their dominant hand, known as the spear hand to strike their opponent. Their other hand, known as the shield hand, is used for defense and to grapple with opponents. Warriors wrap their “spear hand” with a tightly knotted cloth for added impact. The art of Dambe fighting centers around a sound offensive strategy characterized by strong punches, strong kicks, and other close-quarter combat techniques. Dambe is a traditional West African form of boxing that originated among the Hausa people of Nigeria. 

Tell us about the Dambe Warriors League?

Dambe Warriors League(DWL) is home to the 18 top Dambe fighters across the globe. It aims to expand the reach of Dambe both nationally and internationally through the promotion and production of top-quality fights across Nigeria and abroad. 

The league’s structure and scoring have been simplified to make fights fair and consistent, using trained professional judges and referees to ensure warriors adhere to strict codes of conduct that prioritize the safety of the warriors without sacrificing entertainment for the audience.

DWL is a collaborative effort between its executives, local experts, warriors, and their fight houses. Dambe has a rich and vibrant history, and the time is now for DWL to bring these traditions to the world stage.

How is the Dambe Warriors League structured?

Dambe Warriors League has three divisions: Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight.

Each division will contain 6 warriors competing in a quarterly circuit. All warriors will fight every other warrior one time each quarter. 

After each fight, rankings are submitted by certified voting members. Rankings are recalculated within 48 hours after every Dambe fight based on an average of the submitted rankings and will be published on the official Dambe Warriors channels.

At the end of each quarter, DWL will host a Dambe SuperFight that pits the #1 ranked warrior in each division vs the #2 ranked warrior in a Championship bout. Dambe SuperFights will also include three promotion fights, where the two top challengers in each division will fight to replace the #6 ranked warrior.

Warriors can be disqualified from DWL for steroid use, criminal conduct, missing fights for unexcused reasons, or any other reason DWL executives deem necessary to preserve the integrity of the league and the sport.

How can fans and audiences access the fights?

 The Dambe Warriors App is a mobile application that provides users with information about the sport of Dambe, as well as videos and highlights of matches, interviews with fighters, and other content related to the sport. 

Through the app, subscribers will be able to access live streams of certain Dambe fights, watch highlights and replays of past fights, as well as interviews with fighters and other content related to the sport.

The Dambe Warriors App is free to download and use on both iOS and Android devices. However, some content requires a subscription or payment to access.

What are your future plans for the host communities, fighters, and what values should partners and potential sponsors expect from DWL/AFL?

Our aim is to harness, polish, distribute and properly manage the Dambe ecosystem while always preserving the tradition, honor, and will that has driven the sport forward for centuries. We are honored and humbled to be working with such amazing local partners, and we are grateful for everyone who has welcomed us into the Dambe family as generously as they have. The future is bright for Dambe, and we will work hard to make sure that everyone, not only in Nigeria, but also the rest of the world, takes notice.

With that said, DWL fights are just the beginning as we endeavor to put our partner communities on the combat sports map in hopes that national and international investment may follow.
This venture is more than just a sporting endeavor for our leadership team; it’s a labor of love, a tribute to tradition, and a celebration of the indomitable human spirit. As admirers of Dambe, we have witnessed the raw power, the rhythm of the drums, and the camaraderie that define this ancient martial art. It is more than a sport; it’s a bridge connecting people to their roots.

What potentials does the DWL have in helping to build and strengthen the Nigerian economy?

With professionalized contracts, outside investments, and local partnerships, DWL aims to provide our partner communities with significant resources as part of mutually beneficial arrangements where DWL can thrive and grow while goodwill and services can be accomplished at the local level. Long-term, we would love to invest in education and academies.

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