Nigerian boxers yet to begin camping for world tourney

WITH barely two weeks to the start of the 2021 AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Nigerian boxers are yet to begin camping for the event, The PUNCH reports.

The event is scheduled for October 26 to November 6, with the opening ceremony and official draw billed for October 24.

Our correspondent learnt that a total of eight boxers are expected to represent the country at the championships.

A Lagos-based boxer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The PUNCH that he and some of his colleagues were in the dark over their participation at the global championship.

“We have been training personally for over two months now and we are not even sure if we will attend the event, which starts in two weeks time,” the boxer said.

“The Nigeria Boxing Federation is yet to contact us (boxers) on plans for our participation.”

AIBA confirmed that in each weight category, the prize for first place is $100,000, while silver and bronze medallists will receive $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.

Our correspondent learnt that the newly elected NBF board has started the process of appealing for funds for the team to travel for the competition.

“We are aware of the championship and we are making frantic efforts to ensure that we get funds to fly the team for the tournament,” a member of the NBF told newsmen.

Meanwhile, national boxing coach Anthony Konyegwachie has expressed disappointment at the boxers’ inability to attend major tournaments in the last two years.

“Every time we have a competition, what we hear them say is that there’s no money and that is very disheartening. The boxers have not competed in AIBA events in the last two years. They only get to attend competitions like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. This isn’t good for these athletes, their dream is to represent the country and win medals.”