Why I remain a world champion without a fight for 15yrs-63 Yr Old Nigerian Boxing Champion, Bash Ali
By Taiwo Adelu
London, August 26, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Bash Ali, the 63 year old Nigerian world boxing champion has opened up on the circumstances surrounding him remaining world boxing champion despite not fight a single fight for fifteen years
Bash Ali, the only boxer in the world to have won every cruiser weight title conceivable is the reigning champion and holder World Boxing Federation title which he won on September 9, 2000 when he knocked out the then champion, Terry Ray of USA
The controversial Nigerian boxer told Alternativeafrica.com that greediness and foolishness from the World Boxing Federation means he would remain a world champion for life even if he fights no one. ” it all happened on September 9, 2000; I fought the then WBF Cruiserweight Champion, Terry Ray from USA, at the National Stadium, in Lagos. I knocked him out in the 8th round to win the title. I was offered US1.5 million to have a return match while a group in Germany offered me US2.1 million to fight a German boxer in Germany.
” I agreed to the German fight but the WBF President stripped me of my title for not agreeing to a return match with Terry Ray because he was his Manager to Terry Ray through a proxy. I sued the WBF in court for wrongfully stripping me off my title. California Superior Court in Oakland, California, USA, found them guilty and restored my title with a wage loss compensation of US2.1 million and damages of US5 million.
“The US2.1 million was paid but they appealed the US5 million judgement which is now worth over US20 million now, I have the receivership to the WBF to satisfy the damages. The Court in the Permanent injunction stipulated that I can never again be stripped of my title unless I lose it inside the boxing ring. You can see that the injustice done to me in year 2000 has turned out to be a great blessing today. I am the only boxer to have the control of a boxing body. I am truly great.
The judgement of Bash Ali WBF California Superior Court is on Google if anybody needs additional info,” said Bash Ali who had the best boxing record in the cruiser-weight division – 75 wins, 57 KOs and 12 losses.
Ali has won the California title, United States Boxing Association title, North America Boxing Federation title, World Boxing International title twice and the current World Boxing Federation title which he won on September 9, 2000 when he knocked out the then champion, Terry Ray of USA. He has had a great boxing life and is still having fun.
But the Nigerian boxing Ambassador, OON, has revealed that his involvement in boxing and rise to the stardom was all by accident of fate.
Bash Ali by his teeming admirer told Alternativeafrica.com in Abuja that his first love was wrestling, but a switch to boxing was not what he planned to do but by accident.
“I was a wrestler as a teenager and was the middleweight champion of Nigeria while still schooling at Birch Freeman High School. I was a big schoolboy. I was then known as the strongest schoolboy in the world. I was 17 years old when I won the title. I wanted to fight then heavyweight champion of the world, Power Mike but he turned me down that I was too small for him. Looking back now, I guess he was right. I got a wrestling scholarship at the age of 17 years to further my wrestling career at the Mildred Burke Professional School of Wrestling in Los Angeles, California, USA. In 1974 at the age of 18, I accepted the scholarship and went to America and like they say, the rest is history,” said the World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiserweight champion.
Explaining how he had to dump wrestling when he discovered it will be suicidal for him to face hugely built wrestlers in the US.
“When I got to America, I found out that these wrestlers are giants. Most of them are over 6 ft tall while some are above 7ft and over 400 ibs in weight while then I was about 5ft 10in tall and weighed about 170ibs. Compared to these American wrestlers, I was a midget, a dwarf so I had to respect myself and quickly remove wrestling from my mind.
I then decided that I should further my education. I enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, USA to study Political Science,” he said.
When the Edo State-born pugilist discovered that pursuing his career in wrestling had come to an end, the fate brought him to boxing by accident.
“It was by accident and not designed. I was looking for a job when I saw a big building with the picture of Mohammed Ali, the former heavyweight champion of the world, outside the building. I was curious and went inside. Inside were two boxing rings with boxers sparring. I forgot about going to look for a job as I stayed to watch the boxers sparring and day dreaming that I can do it and become a boxing champion and make plenty money in my life. While I was watching, I did not know that one of the trainers called Clarence Douglas was looking at me with keen interest. He later came to ask me if I would like to join them and I said yes. He asked me if I have ever boxed before and I told him a lie that I have. He then invited me to bring my training kits and come and join them the second day. I was very happy and went home and never again went to look for a job as planned. I went home to get ready for tomorrow for the training.
“I got to the boxing gym all excited to get inside the ring to show my skill. Trainer Clarence Douglas was happy to see me and after warming up he put me inside the boxing ring to spar with a heavyweight boxer called Bob Woods. We were supposed to spar for three rounds. I got inside the ring and make a clown of myself by swinging like a woman and despite being hit with clear shots to the head and body I kept moving forward trying to hit him back without success. In those three minutes of sparring, I was dead tired that my trainer asked me to get out of the ring to rest. He told me that if I am a boxer then Nigerians don’t know how to fight. I told him the truth that I never boxed before and that I had to lie to him so he could give me the opportunity. He smiled and said, you could have been killed inside the ring but you survived because you were not afraid but this showed that you were a man with big heart. He said he would train me and we trained for six months before I had my first fight.
Bash Ali whose father died when he was six years old told Alternativeafrica that his first boxer purse was $400. “My first pay as a boxer was $400. I will never forget. Meanwhile, before the fight, I thought I was going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars so you can imagine my disappointment from my pay. Before the fight, I had told my mom that I was doing a big business that would yield money so she should not worry that I will send her money to buy colour TV. The boxer who fought the main event then, Pete Ranzany made $80,000 and I was wondering if I would ever make that much money in my life.
The Nigerian boxing Ambassador has a record as a boxer who never fought as an amateur before turning professional. This is a world record which had never been broken. He said: “I am the only boxer in the world who never fought as an amateur boxer and then went on to become a world boxing champion. I am also the only boxer in the world to win every boxing cruiserweight championship title conceivable: California, United States Boxing Association, North America Boxing Federation, World Boxing Council International (twice) and the current World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight title. I am a great boxer and the best in the world.
“We trained six months and I had my first fight as a professional boxer. I never boxed as an amateur because I will never fight for trophy but money. And don’t forget that I come from a poor family so it would not make sense for me to fight for trophy, which the amayeurs normally do. I had my first professional fight against a big time boxer called Junior Albers in his home town, Sacraments, California. That was in 1978. I was 22 years old. It was for six rounds. I beat him but I was robbed of the decision because that was his territory. It was a daylight robbery but that is boxing for you.
The Nigerian champion is however preparing for a big project titled the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight. What is this about, he said:“The Guinness World Boxing Championship will put me in the Guinness World Record Book as the oldest boxer to fight for a world title and to also defend his title. Do not forget that I am still the WBF Cruiserweight Boxing Champion. Once I step inside that boxing ring at the young age of 63 years, win, lose or draw, I would have made history as the oldest boxer to fight and defend his title but I want to make positive history as the oldest boxer to successfully defend his title and win another title. I must win and that is my goal. Once I step inside the ring on the night of the fight, I would have made boxing history that will never again be broken by any boxer at least not in this life, maybe in another life.
On the benefits of the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship to Nigeria, Bash Ali explained: A Guinness World Record Boxing Championship (GWR) has never been held on the soil of Africa so this would b the first and the most lucrative boxing event in the history of Pay Per View Television. As we are throwing punches in Nigeria, it will be shown live on PPV TV in 132 countries and will be watched by an estimated audience of between 15M to 20M people at the rate of USD100 per viewer for a USD1.5M minimum PPVTV revenue. And the most important reason is that should the fight go the 12 rounds distance, I will get a fair decision because out of the three judges, there will be a Nigerian, American and a neutral judge but if it holds outside and it goes the 12 rounds distance, I will be robbed of the decision because they will not want a Nigerian to occupy that special place in the GWR as the oldest boxer to win and successful defend a world title. It is called ‘boxing politics’. I want to win in Nigeria and I also want my country to get all the benefits that come with a GWR fight.
“As we are conducting this interview, I cannot boast of an American dollar, but I turned down 50 million Euros and 30 percent of estimated USD1.5 Billion in Pay Per View TV revenue to host the fight in another country, but I turned down the offer because I believe in my country, Nigeria and above all, I want to rewrite boxing history in my country. George Foreman set the GWR in his country, USA. Muhammad Ali set the GWR in his country, USA; Mike Tyson set the GWR in his country. USA. Bernard Hopkins set the GWR in his country, USA. Joe Bugner, the only boxer to break the GWR jinx from holding in USA, set it in his country, Australia. And when it came to the turn of a Nigerian to rewrite boxing history in his country, it became an unpardonable crime because of corruption and bad administration. I want to break the jinx that you cannot make it in Nigeria unless you compromise. I must break the jinx.
“The oldest boxer to win a world title was Bernard Hopkins from USA at the age of 49 years 95 days. He was a middleweight. He set the GWR in 2014.”
Alternativeafrica.com reports that Bash Ali has been on the struggle to have the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship staged in Nigeria in the last 13 years with all efforts hitting official brick walls. With emotional and psychological pains, the 63-year-old boxing narrated the sad story that “It started on November 9, 2006 when President Olusegun Obasanjo through the National Sports Commission inaugurated the Bash Ali Boxing Project Local Organizing Committee to organize in Nigeria in a transparent manner the first GWR Fight to hold on the soil of Africa. The corrupt government officials wanted money for themselves instead of Nigeria and my saying NO to them made them put the fight aside. I was told that the only way for the fight to hold is for me to agree to share government money with me and I say NO. On January 7, 2014, former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan again inaugurated another Bash Ali Boxing Project LOC and the same corruption and bad administration took over and as usual I say NO. On May 29, 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, PMB became the President and I wrote a detailed letter to him about the unnecessary struggle I have been through in my quest to bring honour, glory and financial growth to Nigeria through sports and in less than a week after receiving the letter, PMB again approved the hosting in Nigeria. I met with the then Minister Solomon Dalung and again corruption and bad administration took over. I fought him for almost three years for the minister to call for a meeting with the LOC members but he refused unless I yielded to his demands. I took my fight to Vice President Yemi Osinhajo before Solomon Dalung finally on May 21, 2019 called for a meeting and inauguration of the LOC. And to rub salt on injury, he made himself the Chairman of the LOC.
“I have been detained eight times at several police stations in Abuja and once spent 43 days in Kuje Prison (Feb 9-April 2, 2015) all because I say no to corruption and bad administration. I have also been beaten by Police men at the Ministry of Sports and Nexim Bank in Abuja that I had to spend days (Sept 1-9 Sept, 2014) at the National Hospital, Abuja to treat myself. In Feb 2017, I spent two days at the National Hospital in Abuja to treat myself from the beatings I received from the Policemen attached to then Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung. Despite all these beatings, detentions, humiliations and negative reports in several national and international newspapers, topmost the New York Times that I am campaigning in vain inn Nigeria to host a GWR fight, I never gave up on Nigeria. The corrupt criminal government officials can detain me, they can beat me but they can never deport me because I am a Nigerian.
“This is a project that the Federal Government of Nigeria will not finance the fight. It is being financed by the private sector inaugurated by the FG. The FG has put together a Solid Group to host this historic event and right now, I am 100 percent confident that this time around corruption and bad administration will be knocked out especially with the calibre of the new Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare. I will advice the new minister to put Nigeria first and always remember that sports is one of the biggest industries in the world and that if well organized in Nigeria, it would earn big money for our great country. All other thing being equalled, the proposed date for the fight is 30 November to be staged in any state of Nigeria which will bid for it. The venue will be determined by the state that bids the highest. The opening bid is $1 million. It is a big business so let us milk it to the bone,” he said.
Bash Ali, who was honoured in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo State with a chieftaincy title, Ajagungbade of Ibadanland (the one who goes to war for crown) because of his rare qualities revealed that though he has never had any fight since 2004, yet he still hold the belt of a world champion. “I have never been retired. My last fight was in 2004 when I knocked out the then British Cruiserweight Champion, Tony Booth in the 4th round. It was after that fight that we started to plan the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight but corruption and bad administration in Nigeria have delayed it.