The Nigerian Boxing Board of control (NBBofC) has extended their suspension of all public boxing events indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president of the NBBofC, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, told BoxingAfrica.com that there will be no boxing in the country in the foreseeable future. The Board says they will review the decision when the spread of coronavirus is contained.
“For us in the NBBofC, we are watching the scene and following worldwide trends regarding the coronavirus and how it has led to the postponements of big and small sporting events,” said Ladipo. “Even though we are disappointed, there’s nothing we can do other than to suspend public boxing activities and promotions indefinitely.”
Nevertheless, Ladipo is looking forward to a quick end to the health crisis.
“I believe COVID-19 will end soon, like everything that has a beginning. And then boxing all over will resume and we will make the best of it,” said the president. “There was going to be a promotion on April 12 but had to be postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus. This is what we are saying: Our boxers must be healthy, our boxers must be coronavirus-free, the promoters, officials and fans must stay alive.”
Ladipo alluded to the government’s order to stay at home and called on the pugilists to adhere strictly while holding their training regimes at home.
“We cannot fight this virus with kid gloves and so I call on all our boxers to obey the government’s stay at home call,” said Ladipo. “They should not stop training though. They should keep fit at home, in their compounds; create makeshift gyms and train at home, communicating with their coaches on phone and video calls.
“Don’t go to public gyms and mix up with people as that is dangerous. Stay healthy and fit and we will overcome this unfortunate situation.”
When the disease is eventually eradicated, the NBBofC boss expects a resurgence of Nigeria boxing.
“I am expecting an upsurge in promotions once the virus is contained, with more individuals showing interest in Nigerian boxing,” he said. “I expect more promotions to keep our boxers busy.”
–Ralph Chidozie George, Twitter: @ralphcgeorge