Asaba to rumble again as GOtv Boxing Night shifts to South South

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Prince Fatai Nurudeen (right) and Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph (left) during the national lightweight champion bout at GOtv Boxing Night 7. Joe Boy defended his African Boxing Union (ABU) title in Ibadan recently where he defeated his Ghanaian challenger in a 12-round contest.

Just a few weeks after the end of the 21st African Senior Athletics Championship, Asaba 2018, another major sporting event is set to rock the city.

This time, organisers of the GOtv Boxing Night are said to have concluded plans to stage the 16th edition of the event in Asaba in September.

Before now, the GOtv Boxing Night had revolved between Lagos and Ibadan since it debuted three years ago.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that organisers of the GOtv Boxing Night were thrilled by the record-breaking attendance recorded on daily basis throughout the duration of the Asaba 2018 Athletics Championship hence the decision to take the boxing fiesta to the city.

The GOtv Boxing Night 16, according to an official, was originally scheduled for Akure, Ondo State capital.

“But we are considering moving the event to Asaba because of the record-breaking attendance we saw during the athletics championship.

If people could pay heavily to watch athletics, I am very sure they will fall in love with the GOtv Boxing Night 16.

Boxing all over the world provides excitement for the fans, and we have lined up great boxers to entertain the people of Asaba in September.”

An official of the orgnising body, Flykite Promotions, is expected in Asaba next week for inspection of the Indoor Sports Hall, which was built by the regime of former governor, Chief James Ibori, in 1999.

Before the 21st African Senior Athletics Championship, Asaba 2018, many Nigerians were of the opinion that the city of Kano has the highest number of sports followers in the country.

But that perception may have changed. For years, the people of Asaba were starved of major sporting events, no thanks to the absence of a befitting stadium.

Since the state’s creation in 1991, the people only watched sporting events on television.

The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration changed the situation for good by completing the Stephen Keshi Stadium, which hosted the CAA Asaba 2018 from August 1 to 5.

The people made good use of the opportunity, as they came out in their thousands daily to savour the thrills and glamour associated with the athletics event.

School children, market women, civil servants and visitors from neighbouring Onitsha in Anambra State seized the opportunity to show to the entire world their rich sports culture, paying gate fees ranging from N500 to N7000 daily.

It will be the first time the GOtv Boxing Night will be holding outside the South West region, and the first for the South South region.