• MRI system doesn’t stop age cheats, says coach Mensah
One of the coaches involved in the selection of young boxers at the fourth edition of GOtv Boxing NextGen, which ended in Abeokuta at the weekend, Joe Mensah has said the use of MRI machine in screening athletes does not produce accurate results in most cases.
A total of 20 talented young boxers were adjudged by selectors as the best out of 150 pugilists that participated in the exercise, which began last Thursday, and attracted boxers from Enugu, Abia, Ogun, Oyo and Lagos states as well as Abuja.
Speaking with The Guardian at the end of the programme, coach Mensah, who alongside Obisia Nwankpa and Jerry Okorodudu, did the selection, explained why they don’t use the MRI machine in picking boxers within the stipulated age group (U-24). “Some years ago in Lagos, we used the MRI in screening boxers for an U-17 event, but the machine failed to detect their actual ages.
“There are so many things we look at while picking the boxers. We look at their steps, how long they have been boxing, going by the form they filled, and their techniques inside the ring,” Mensah stated.
The selected boxers were unveiled at the closing ceremony held at Dunkin Pepper Gym, MKO Abiola International Stadium on Saturday. Three of the boxers were deemed to have been head and shoulders above the others, with Adeyemi Opeyemi Elijah emerging the best boxer. Also picked were the duo of Akintayo Aminu and Shogbanmu Waheed.
Speaking at the ceremony, Managing Director, Flykite Productions, the organisers, Jenkins Alumona explained that the programme was designed to continually oil the wheels of progress of professional boxing in Nigeria by unearthing talents that could be nurtured to local and international stardom.
He added that Flykite Productions is considering setting up a training camp for long term improvement and education of the boxers selected. He also advised boxers who failed to make the cut not to take their rejection as the end of their dream of becoming professional boxers.
Boxers selected at the programme will have their boxing licences and pre-licensing medical examination paid for by the sponsors, Alumona said, adding that some of the selected boxers would make their professional debut at the next edition of GOtv Boxing Night.
The three best boxers got gifts of GOtv decoders, while others also got gifts. The organisers also announced a donation of N50,000 to the Ogun State Boxing Association.
Among dignitaries at the programme were Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, Mr. Remi Aboderin, President and Secretary-General respectively of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C).