Nigerian President of the West Africa Boxing Union (WABU), Aboderin Remi, has identified the lack of cooperation and support from local television stations as a major challenge hindering the growth of boxing in the West Africa sub-region.
In his view, boxing can be bigger than it is currently if local televisions have partnered promoters to raise revenue to stage bigger promotions.
In a chat with the Times Sports over the weekend, Mr. Remi pointed to the USA, United Kingdom and other countries advanced in the sport and indicated that they are where they are because of very good structures for the sport to thrive.
“Courtesy of GoTV, boxing has been given a new face in Nigeria. They support our promotions by taking care of almost all the expenses.
“I feel it is much bigger in Ghana where DSTV also support some events, especially those from the stable of Box Office Sports. Such partnerships bring hope to the sport and its players,” he said.
That notwithstanding, Mr. Remi believes that considering the high numbers as far as television stations were concerned, the sport can grow at a much higher pace if the local stations were involved.
According to Remi, an ex-promoter and trained Journalist, the involvement of television stations makes the sport attractive to potential sponsors; making them key stakeholders as far as the promotion and development of the sport was concerned.
He said the stations have often pulled away because they anticipate to reap a lot of cash which is eventually not the case.
“The beginning of such ventures can be difficult but when they stay, we can all make it big. In the states and other places, it is the TV stations that drive boxing.”
In the sub-region, WABU, he said, was doing its best by encouraging promoters to come up with very good proposals to make it easier for the corporate sector to come on board.
“It is this same sport that offers the boys on the street the opportunity to make a living for themselves. Quite a number of these boxers could have become social miscreants but boxing has transformed their lives.”
Commenting on developments in Ghana, Mr. Remi hailed the current Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) board for lifting a two-year ban of former world champion, Richard Commey.
“It was a good move. I believe the boxer has learnt his lesson the hard way but there was no need to stretch the matter. Commey can now focus on his training as he aims to get another shot at the world title.
Commey was handed the ban after making a series of allegations against the GBA during the tenure of the immediate past president, Mr. Peter Zwennes.
BY ANDREW NORTEY