63 yr old Nigerian boxer, Bash Ali to fight in Guinness World Record Boxing Championship
By Taiwo Adelu
London, May 23, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A Nigerian is on the verge of rewritten a world history as the oldest man to step in the boxing ring and eventually becomes the oldest man on earth to win a world title bout.
With the support from the Federal Government of Nigeria, the coast have been cleared for the World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiser-weight champion, Baahiru Lawrence Ali, OON to fight in the tournament tagged Bash Ali Guinness World Record Boxing Championship.
This was disclosed by the Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung during the inauguration of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the fight in Abuja on Tuesday.
Dalung, who is also the Chairman of the LOC, charged the members of the committee to set the ball rolling because he wanted to see the staging of the bout in Nigeria in the next 90 days.
The terms of reference of the LOC, according to the Minister include to galvanize all resources in support and marketing of the fight across the world, to re-invite the World Boxing Federation (WBF), International Boxing Union (IBU) and the Pay-Per-View (PPV) operators to Nigeria
Others are to concretize the organisation of the fight for a win-win business operation, select any venue where the championship will be staged in Nigeria and undertake the packaging of the fight in an efficient and accountable manner.
Dalung re-emphasised that though the fight had suffered several postponements in the past, this time around the government is serious to make it happen with the inauguration of the LOC which contains eminent Nigerians such as renowned human right lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Chief Kenny Martins and others.
The Minister disclosed that apart from the honour the fight will bring to Nigeria as one of his citizens is rewritten history as the oldest man to win a world boxing if Bash Ali wins, which he believes he will win, the fight is also a tool to rebrand Nigeria as all eyes will be focused on Nigeria before, during and after the epic event.
The business opportunity from the fight will also help in injection foreign money into the Nigerian economy with the revenues from the pay-per-view telecast which will run into millions or dollars.
“I want to assure that we are serious with the Bash Ali’s Project this time around. The government will provide the enabling environment and we are calling on individuals and the private sector to rally support for this Nigeria project.
” The last boxer who held the oldest man record to win a world boxing title was Bernard Hopkins of USA who did it at 49, but our own Bash Ali wants to rewrite history at 63. The record is coming in two ways, stepping in the ring alone will be a record breaking feat, while winning the fight will be a landmark feat for him and the country,” Dalung said.
He praised the doggedness and determination of Bash Ali to have this fight staged in Nigeria despite several juicy offers he received from foreign nations to have the bout organised elsewhere.
Chief Ozekhome applauded president Muhammadu Buhari for the government’s support for Bash Ali, adding that he is known as an ardent critics of the present Nigerian government, but “for doing this for Bash Ali, I must thank Mr. President. I believe if our leader does something good, we must come out to praise him.
” I believe in Bash Ali’s dream, that’s why I want to be part of it to tell the world that something good can come out of Africa,” the respected legal luminary said.
To Chief Kenny Martins, Bash Ali can be compared to President Buhari in the spirit to fight on in their lives. The two of them have the Nigerian spirit of never give up and because of this, the boxer can now see his dream coming to past very soon.
Another members of the LOC, Mr. Emmanuel Avworo, who is also the Chairman of the South-South Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business angle in the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship was what enticed him to the project since 2017, adding that Nigerian private sector and the financial institutions should cue in into this event.
“We are talking about revenue from the PPV, brandling, TV rights and merchandising. So it will be a win-win business for anyone that supports this project,” he said.
President of Bash Ali Fans Club, Mr Dickson Ayorinde Oshin, who led some members of the fans club from Lagos and other parts of the country to the inauguration commended Dalung who “despite his busy schedule and the remaining short span in the life of this administration has worked relentlessly to put in place a process that will ultimately lead to the realisation of the world boxing championship, the Guinness World Record Boxing fight involving our own, the undefeated world champion, Baah Ali (OON).”
Bash Ali himself who was short of words while addressing journalists, he said he can’t wait to have his dream becoming a reality.