The many exciting moments of the third and fourth quarters of the outgoing year came to a climax as boxers from different states of the federation jostled for honours at the just-concluded 18th National Sports Festival held from 27 November to 9 December in Lagos State.
Once again, Lagos State exerted its dominance in the squared rope sport as it raked in 8 gold and 1 bronze medals which was a shade better than its Garden City Games feat of 7 gold 1 silver and 1 bronze medals.
According to the scribe of the Lagos Amateur Boxing Association, LABA, Adesoye Adepuji, no fewer than 10 boxers from Team Lagos have been invited to the national camp by the Nigeria Amateur Boxing Federation, NABF.
In the quarters under review, Nigeria’s WBC Welterweight hopeful, Olusegun Ajose, was defeated via a 10th round technical knockout by Lucas Matthysse on 8 September at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
After a constant sledgehammer attack by Matthysse (32-2, 30KOs), the fast-moving Ajose (30-1, 14KOs), was obliterated in front of thousands of raucous fans in the keenly contested bout.
Referee Russell Mora had no choice than to stop the fight for a technical knockout win for the Argentine when his right hand snapped Ajose’s head violently followed with a pair of heavy right punches.
On the foreign scene, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao sought to affirm the judging that gave him two decisions and a draw in his three tight fights against rival Juan Manuel Marquez on 8 December at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
But Marquez, who earned a draw in their first meeting and lost two controversial decisions in their second and third bouts caught the former welterweight champion with a jarring right to knock him out just before the bell to end the sixth round in their non-title Welterweight bout.
Marquez improved to 55-6-1 with the 40th knockout of his career helping to end the torment he had suffered through the narrow margins dividing him further from the mythical worldwide status that Pacquiao (54-5-2) achieved.