No fewer than 200 companies have turned down proposals for the sponsorship of Bash Ali’s “Guinness Book of World Record’’ title fight.
Bala Ka’oje, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the fight, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the development was a major setback for the staging of the fight.
“From what I can see, the hope of this fight taking place is very slim because we have written and followed up letters in a number of places.
“More than 200 letters have been sent to both government and private organisations, but we have not gotten any serious response. I don’t know why people are not convinced.
“I know that Bash can fight this fight and perhaps win it; it will also be a history making for him and the country. But others might not see it that way.
“We are still praying that God will touch the minds of Nigerians both in government and private sector to come and support the project.
“This will enable the LOC meet with the objective for which it was set-up,’’ Mr. Ka’oje said.
Mr. Ka’oje, who was former Minister of Sports, also told NAN that the Bank of Industry (BoI) gave a false hope to the project.
“I don’t know the arrangement Bash has with Bank of Industry (BoI).
“All I know is that we wrote them a letter but we never got a reply from the bank, from my investigation I found out that they actually do not have money to fund sports.
“They are supposed to fund Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) according to the act that established them; there is no provision in their act to fund sports.
“However, the LOC is crawling,’’ Ka’oje added.
He noted that the condition given by the International Boxing Union, which mandated the LOC to pay $29 million before the fight could be staged, was discouraging.
According to Mr. Ka’oje, the complaint to the IBU on its tough charges necessitated the change of date for fight on several occasions.
He pointed out that no boxer even in America would remain in business after meeting such conditions of the IBU.
NAN reports that 58-year-old Bash Ali was scheduled to fight 32-year-old IBU champion, Rick Camling of America. (NAN)