The first impression meeting Taiwo Olowu for the first time is that of a shy, quiet, humble young man, hence the name “Gentle Boy.” But beneath the ‘humble’ facade is one of the most vicious welterweight boxers currently in Nigeria.
The Bariga, Lagos State-based boxer’s ‘gentle’ demeanour marks a stark contrast to his fearsome reputation in the ring. Last Saturday, in front of over 2,000 screaming boxing fans at Molade Okoya Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, being gentle was the last thing on Olowu’s mind as he faced his long-time rival Isaac “I-Star” Chukwudi.
Chukwudi, another rising star in the welterweight division, had boasted he would dethrone Olowu as the national welterweight champion.
Indeed, I-Star had every reason to be confident. After all, he had won the first professional fight between them by a split decision in December and felt he could go a step better by knocking out the champion in front of his fans.
“I’ve heard him say all sorts of nonsense about being champion and ready to defend his title,” Chukwudi said before the fight.
“The title stopped being his the day we signed the contract to fight. His empty boast will bite him on that day and he will know that I-Star is different from all the people he has fought. Mark my words: he will surrender in the third round.”
But what happened in the ring was quite different from what I-Star might have thought would occur.
Olowu was in no mood for games as he dominated the fight round after round and, with the crowd screaming “Olowu” “Olowu” repeatedly, the taller ‘Gentle boy’ had the time to start taunting his shorter rival, even dancing at one point in the sixth round.
By the eighth round, I-Star was already fatigued and after a small slip in his defensive strategy, Olowu pounced, landing and knocking I-Star to the ropes before delivering a power left hook to the jaw that sent the already falling Chukwudi staggering across the ring and collapsing near his corner.
Olowu had done it; he had retained his national title with a stunning knockout victory and proved to his doubters that he is the one to beat in the welterweight division.
“There is nothing better than proving people wrong,” Olowu said after the fight. “I am happy to have proved my doubters wrong. Many people said he was going to beat me. He was all over the news and social media boasting how he was going to knock me out.
“What did he do in the end; he could not even land a proper punch to destabilize me.”
Olowu has ruled out a third fight with Chukwudi, setting his sights on a possible West African Boxing Union (WABU) welterweight title next year before going for his main ambition, becoming a world champion.
“My target is to become a world champion and I am working hard to achieve it but first let me win this title (WABU) next year,” Olowu said. “Any champion out there that wants to fight, Let us do it. I just want to keep on fighting and give the fans what they want.
“I want to put smiles on the faces of my fans and I am sure I will not let them down when I get the chance to fight for the WABU welterweight title.
“I am taking it one step at a time because after West Africa, it will be defending the title and aiming at Africa and the world.
“I want to make my mark and become one of the best boxers Nigeria will ever produce.”