Eight Nigerian boxers make final cut for 2018 Commonwealth Games

Nestor Bolum of Nigeria (right) exchanging punches with Akhil Kumar of India in the men’s Bantamweight 54 kg semifinal bout at Melbourne Exhibition Centre during 2006 Commonwealth Games. (Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria)

The Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF) has picked eight boxers to represent the country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia following the final trials ahead of the Games.

The final trials took place at the Brai Ayonote Gymnasium at the National Stadium in Lagos on Friday, where 16 boxers slugged it out for the tickets to the Games.

A seven-member NBF Technical Committee headed by Joseph Ayeni, a brigadier-general, met after the trials and decided on which of the boxers should fly the nation’s flag at the Games.

The eight boxers selected are made up of four male and four female, and they will fight in eight different weight categories.

The female boxers are Ayisat Oriyomi and Itunu Oriola from Lagos, in the 51kg and 69kg weight categories respectively, and Yetunde Odunuga of the Nigerian Army in the 60kg category.

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Millicent Agboegbulem from Delta makes up the list, and she will fight in the 75kg category.

In the male weight categories, Sikiru Fatai of the Nigeria Police would fight in the 56kg category, while Soyoye Kazeem of Ogun will fight in the 60kg category.

Paris Umeh of the Nigeria Army qualified in the 69kg category, while Lukmon Lawal of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will fight in the 81kg category.

Ayeni then appealed to the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports to take the remaining eight boxers along as sparring partners for the qualified ones during their foreign training tour.

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Ayeni, who is the Vice-President of NBF, said this would help the boxers to be better prepared for the Commonwealth Games.

“I am delighted about the performance of the boxers during the trial. They gave a good account of themselves, as they observed camp rules and concentrated on the training.

“I also commend the national head coach, Tony Konyegwachie, who led the technical crew, for his efforts in bringing the best out of the boxers. They have indeed done a credible job.

“At the Games, we hope to go for gold medals and to make that happen, we will hope on the foreign tour and the coming invitational trials against Ghana to further prepare us,’’ Ayeni said.

No fewer than 200 boxers had turned up for the National Open trials on December 17, where after two days of intense boxing matches, 32 boxers made the camp.

The 32 boxers were reduced to 16 in January after a one-day trials session.


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