It has really been an age-long tradition for Nigerian-born individuals to represent other nations when it comes to sporting activities. Although, there have been so many questions and issues to what might have caused the rise in this act, especially as it concerns boxing. It’s so disheartening that Nigeria presently does not have a global standard well-equipped boxing gym. The country used to be the home of stars when it comes to boxing.
With the likes of Bash Ali and his extraordinary deeds in the early 2000s. The nation has got so many heroic boxers who were and is still outstanding in their boxing careers but did not represent their fatherland (Nigeria). In the course of this article, we will look at some of them and their respective achievements.
Among famous Nigerian born boxers that represented other countries include Charles Ikemefuna Ibeabuchi. With a total fight of 20, won 20 (15 KO). The boxer popularly known as ‘The President’ won lots of fights before migrating to the United State in 1993.
Among the fights he won before migrating to United State includes defeating the 1996 Atlanta Olympics medalist Duncan Dokiwari. Ibeabuchi who said he wanted to join the Nigeria military but after watching the 1990 fight between Mike Tyson and James Douglas ‘Busta’ which was won through a knockout, had a change of mind concerning his carrier.
Ikemefuna took his carrier to its peak when he migrated to United State with his mother, winning Ismael Garcia on October 13, 1994, with a second-round knockout at the heavyweight division on his professional debut. Ikemefuna in the course of his carrier defeated prominent heavyweight boxers like future heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd.
The President also defeated the undefeated David Tua for the WBC International Heavyweight title on June 7, 1997, who was 27-0 before the fight. Although, the boxer was not only famous but controversial as his carrier was entangled with lots of controversies.
DAVID DEJIRO DEFIAGBON
“The Dream”, as he is popularly known, is among the famous Nigerian born boxers who represented Canada. The Edo born boxers “David Defiagbon” in his time was a prominent figure in his time and had a lot of laurel in his name.
Among the laurels won includes a gold medal in the 67kg welterweight division at the commonwealth games in 1990. He won a bronze medal in the light-middleweight division at the 1991 ‘All African Games’ that took place in Cairo. David Defiagbo also won the silver medal for Canada in the heavyweight (limit 201 lbs.) division at Summer Olympic in 1996.
HERBERT OKECHUKWU MADUAGWU
Herbie Hide as he was popularly known is among the Nigeria born boxers that represented other countries (England) Some of the major contenders defeated by Herbert Hide were James Pritchard and Jeff Lampkin among others.
He was born in Imo state to a Nigerian parent on August 27, 1971, and later relocated at a very young age to England where he later represented them. “The Dancing Destroyer” as he was also called, raised to domestic success at the early stage of his life for a heavyweight division and held the WBO heavyweight title twice.
Hide with a second-round win, kick-started his career in 1989 then, pulled a total of 25 consecutive wins except one within the streak. The boxer saw his career to its prime when he challenged and won Michael Bentt for the WBO heavyweight title at the Millwall football stadium, Millwall London, in March 1994. And also in his fight against Tony Tucker June 1997 which he won in the second round via knockout.
Popularly known as “The Natural”, Larry Ekundayo is a Nigeria born boxer who parades his trade in the United Kingdom. Born in 1982 and graduated from the University of Lagos, Larry at 17, won the 1998 Nigerian Amateur Bantamweight Champion. He qualified to partake in the 1999 Bantamweight division in the All African Games but didn’t scale through due to not meeting up with the necessary requirements.
Larry then moved to the welterweight category where he won the 2006 and 2007 London Regional Amateur Boxing Association (ABA). As a professional boxer, he became the first boxer to be given a £2,000 knockout bonus as he defeated three boxers in one night to become the Light Middleweight Prizefighters champion in London. In the course of his professional carrier, Larry has been in 11 fights and has been unbeaten in all.
Born at Amaigbo, Nigeria on August 14, 1929, with a stage name as Dick Tiger, Richard is among the list of Nigerian born boxers that represented other countries. Tiger, as he was popularly called, was a famous professional boxer in his times though late now. An Igbo man who was among the Biafran army during the Nigeria Civil War, primarily training soldiers in the hand to hand combat. He migrated to England, later to the United States in the course of his boxing carrier.
He was a two-times undisputed world middleweight champion and played a huge part to keep the boxing industry alive during the recession in the 1050s. Dick Tiger won so many awards and medals during his time. With Ring Magazine in 2002, he was voted as the 31st greatest fighter of the last 80 years, fighter of the year in 1962 and 1965. And the Boxing Writers Association of America also voted him the fighter of the year in 1962 and 1966. In 1991, Dick Tiger was finally inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Among the names includes, Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua born on October 15, 1989, is also among the Nigeria born boxers representing another country. With origin from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State and popularly called AJ is among the famous Nigeria-born boxer in active service for the British.
In his carrier so far, he has won so many laurels for himself and Great Britain which he represents. Among the laurels include; winning the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, winning the silver medal as an amateur in the super heavyweight division at the World Championship in 2011.
The Olympic gold medal, as well as the world title by a major professional sanctioning body, made him the first British heavyweight to do so and the second British boxer to win a gold medal at the Olympics after James DeGale. Anthony Joshua is also a former unified world heavyweight champion having held between 2014 to 2016 the WBA (super), IBO, WBO, IBF titles.
Joshua is no doubt in the peak of his carrier having won Wladimir Klitschko in a fight known as the “Fight of the Year”. In June 2019, Anthony Joshua was ranked by BoxRec as the world’s third-best active heavyweight. The Ring magazine and the Transnational Boxing Ranking also ranked him the fourth-best active heavyweight.
Born on September 6, 1968, in Lagos Nigeria and later had the opportunity to travel abroad in pursuit of his boxing career. He resided at Brockley, London, United Kingdom and later became a British citizen and won lots of laurels.
With an average knockout (KOs) of 63%, Peter Oboh is among Nigeria born boxers who represented other countries and won laurels for them. Oboh is a formal British, commonwealth and World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental light heavyweight champion, with an international professional boxing record of 19 bouts with 14 wins and 5 losses.
The boxer, made his debut on May 12, 1993, with a boxing career that lasted from 1993 to 2004 was indeed one of the prominent boxer in the light heavyweight division in his time. Among the laurels he won includes the British Boxing Board of Control (BBB of C) commonwealth light heavyweight title, British light heavyweight title, Intercontinental light heavyweight title and ultimately the World Boxing Association (WBA) title, among others.
Finally, all these boxers and so many others with Nigeria heritage like Hogan Bassey, Henry Akinwande among others, have represented other countries across various boxing divisions. Ranging from heavyweights, light heavyweights, cruiserweights, featherweights and flyweights’ division.
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