By Babatunde Ogunrinde
Stanley ‘Edo Boy’ Eribo of Nigeria has retained the Welterweight African Boxing Union Championship belt following his victory over Ramadhan Shauri of Tanzania at the GOtv Boxing Night 12 in Lagos.
The seven-bout event which witnessed a sell-out capacity crowd at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, was at all times driven to ecstasy following the explosive displays of the boxers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that top of the scheduled event of the day was Eribo going pound for pound with Shauri who lived up to his billing as both boxers worked tenaciously to cancel each other out.
The bout dragged into the 12th round where the judges scored the fight 118-109, 120-108, 120-107 in favour of Eribo.
Edo boy as he is fondly called by his fans, also went home with the best boxer of the night award — the Mojisola Ogunsanya trophy and N2.5 million.
Eribo told NAN after his victory that he was delighted to retain his belt and heaped praises on his opponent for giving him a good fight.
“It was a tough fight for me; I thought I would round him up early in the fight when I landed a heavy punch in the first round that made him hit the canvass.
“He kept on coming and never gave up and was strong enough to withstand the heavy blows I landed on him.
“Indeed, he is a great boxer in the category, I had to change my strategy and worked more on the good jabs which eventually counted at the end,’’ Eribo said.
He said he was glad to fulfill the promise he gave prior to the match of not failing Nigeria most especially when the nation was celebrating its independence day.
In another crunchy tie, Olajide “Fijaborn’’ Fijabi, of Nigeria also defeated Ben “Congo soldier’’ Ankrah of Ghana in a unanimous decision of their 10-round bout of the West Africa Lightweight fight.
Fijabi went home with the second best boxer of the night which came with the sum of N1 million.
An elated Fijabi said that he was proud to showcase his talent yet again ever since he turned professional.
“It was a great match I had to work extra hard because my opponent is a very clever and tactical boxer.
“Having won all my nine professional fights, I want to target the African title because that is where I believe I should be fighting having done well at the West African level.
“I thank my fans and the sponsors for their support I would continue to prove my best until I become a world champion,’’ he said.
Nigeria’s Oto “Boy’’ Joseph also impressed his fans as he battled hard to clinch the Commonwealth Africa Lightweight title after beating Isreal Kammawamba of Malawi in a terrific match.
The judges scored the fight 97-94, 98-92 and 97-92 in a unanimous decision that had brought the best out of both boxers.
Other fight that featured in the night saw Waidi “Skoro’’ Usman outpunching Juma Fundi of Tanzania in a Featherweight challenge decided through technical knockouts.
Usman’s successful combinations of landed blows well delivered to the Tanzania floored him and following a ten-count by the referee, the fight had to be halted.
Also, Rilwan “Real One’’ Oladosu beat Samuel “Omo Daddy’’ Opaogun by technical knockout in the fourth round in a National Lightweight bout.
Kabiru “Kb Godson’’ Towolawi wasted no time to dismiss Akeem “Ak’’ Adebayo in the third round in their national heavyweight challenge.
GOtv Next Gen prodigy Rilwan “Babyface’’ Babatunde silenced Nigeria Army’s Christmas “Tornado’’ Tonbraye in the fourth round of their National Lightweight bout.
Meanwhile, the General Marketing Manager, Multichoice Nigeria Ltd, Martin Mabutho, the sponsors of the GOtv Boxing Night, said the company was happy to host another explosive show.
He said that the future looked bright as many boxers in Nigeria and the rest of Africa would continue to use the platform to launch themselves into international stardom.
“We are proud of the positive development every edition brings and most importantly the reputation the boxing show has earned for itself across Africa.
“No fewer than 48 countries in Africa watched the boxing show; indeed, it is fast becoming a boxing event to reckon with in Africa.
“With much enthusiasm, we look forward to the next boxing night which may come up later in December,” Mabutho said.