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Despite The Odds, Bash Ali Resolute To Rewrite Boxing History Remains Unchanged

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The African Boxing Ambassador, Bashiru Lawrence Ali, OON, has become a household name in the world of boxing due to his tall ambition to make a name for himself as the oldest man to achieve two things in one night; win the Guinness World Record as the oldest man to step into a boxing ring and if he wins the fight, as the oldest man to win a world boxing title. Not only this, he would have put the name of Nigeria once again in the world record book.

The World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiserweight champion turned 67 last February 27.

To Bash Ali, as he is fondly called by his teeming admirers who cut across all shades of life, and dreams, they say hardly die. It is not for fun that 17 years ago, his dream of becoming the Guinness World Record Boxing Champion refused to die.

Many have given up on their dreams or even died with them, however, for Bash Ali, the man has remained on course until the mark is made.

There are many doubting Thomases, who have dismissed this dream with a wave of the hand, wondering if he wants to kill himself in the adventure.

Those who want to listen to themselves speak on the initiative, would prefer he is stopped in his tracks.

Being a man of conviction that Bash is, he has said: “I know that many people give up on their dreams and die with it, but I am an extraordinary man.

“I will accomplish my dream and continue to fight till I am 70 years old, retire young and healthy with a lot of money and then go into politics and become the President of Nigeria.”

Many think he is on the path of damnation. But they do not know he has always been convinced beyond reasonable doubt of his capacity, capability and holding power in the game.

He has never given up on his dream, and neither has he ever gioven up on Nigeria. His implicit faith in his capacity has never been in doubt; and that has remained incontrovertible.

It is annoying, some Nigerians have regrettably curious opponents of anything good. They are supposed to support his ambition but are strongly against it.

If Bash Ali were to be a white man living in the West, his dream and ambition would have seen the light of the day, despite the assertion of those against the dream.

Bash Ali with Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria
Bash Ali with Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria

Older persons desirous of fulfilling an ambition in the west and other saner climes would have been supported without a second thought in order to rewrite boxing history.

Today, we are where we are and perhaps more shameful that dreams are hardly pursued on account of what people would say.

For those who do not believe, Champion Bash Ali will surely shock the world by rewriting boxing history and making all his fiercest critics his most adored disciples.

You may do well to mark these words and get ready to be part of boxing history in the making. This has been a goal.

The initiative, if anyone cares to know has been privately driven. The Federal Government of Nigeria has never given a kobo since Champion Bash Ali embarked on the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight initiative.

Rather, he has spent billions of Naira of personal money. Anyone who doubts it is free to cross-check.

We thought Bash Ali needed to be commended not condemned. But the choice is all yours to act. You can bet against him on the fight night, but we dare say you will lose your money because he is going to win.

The fact that Champion Bash Ali has continued to meet senior government officials and other critical stakeholders is to let the world know that he is able to do it and create history on his side.

The meeting was a moment for the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Cruiserweight champion, Bash Ali to inform the government that the proposed Guinness World Record Boxing Championship which is scheduled to be held for the first time on African soil, outside the United States is possible.

If you feel not perpetrated to the cause, there is something hanging out in the air: A chance to make history and place Nigeria’s Bash Ali in the Guinness World Record beckons.

He is encouraged. It is on the way!

Bash Ali began his boxing career in September 1978 and never fought as an amateur. He is the only boxer in the world to win every cruiserweight title conceivable.

Bash Ali’s last fight was in 2004 when he knocked out the then-British cruiserweight champion, Tony Booth, in the fourth round. It is on record that in 1985, Bash Ali made history as the first cruiserweight boxing champion from the African continent.

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2024 Olympic Qualifier: Super Falcons will beat Cameroon in Abuja — Waldrum

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Super Falcons head coach, Randy Waldrum is confident his side will get the job done against Cameroon in Abuja on Monday.

The nine-time African champions held the Indomitable Lionesses to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their 2024 Olympic Games third-round qualifying fixture in Douala on Friday.

Jennifer Echegini’s 52nd-minute strike was controversially ruled out for offside in the game.

“We don’t fear anybody,” Waldrum said after the game.

“We played the European champions (England) to penalty kicks in the World Cup and held the Olympic gold medalist (Canada) to a draw at the World Cup, we got a victory over Australia. We can play with the best teams in the world.

“I give credit to Cameroon for the job they did. But there is no fear on our part.”

Victory against Cameroon will see the Super Falcons face either African champions, South Africa or Tanzania in the final round.

South Africa defeated Tanzania 3-0 in the first leg on Friday.

 

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CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United arrive Luanda for Academica do Lobito clash

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Rivers United have arrived in Angola for the CAF Confederation Cup matchday five clash against Academica Petroleos Clube do Lobito.

The former Nigeria Premier Football League champions arrived in Luanda in the early hours of Saturday.

The Pride of Rivers departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Friday night.

Rivers United will lock horns with Academica Petroleos Clube do Lobito at the Estádio 11 de Novembre on Sunday.

Stanley Eguma’s side defeated the same opponent 3-0 on matchday one at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

Academica Petroleos Lobito are yet to record a point in four matches.

Rivers United are third on the Group C table with six points.

 

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Kenya bids farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum

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Top athletes and dignitaries joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral on Friday of Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum in the nation’s athletics heartland where he was born, trained and died.

Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, was killed in a late-night car crash on February 11, just months after shattering the marathon record in Chicago.

Kiptum’s wife, Asenath Rotich, was overcome with emotion as she read a tearful tribute to the marathon prodigy.

“It’s unbelievable that today I have learnt to stay with our beloved kids without you coming home again,” she said, revealing that the couple had planned to hold a wedding ceremony in April.

“I will still make my vows of love even in your rest.”

Although Kiptum only competed in three marathons, he won all of the races, posting three of the seven fastest times in history for the event.

Coe said his death was “a cause of intense sadness” and eulogised the young athlete for scaling “the highest peaks of achievement” during his short life.

“Rest assured your achievements are treasured, indelible and secure in the annals of our history and never ever forgotten,” the athletics chief said.

‘Worked against odds’

Kiptum ran the Chicago race in October in two hours and 35 seconds, slicing 34 seconds off the previous fastest time set by his Kenyan rival, the marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge.

His sudden death has left Kenya, and the wider athletics community, reeling.

Ruto said the East African nation had seen “the future of athletics” in Kiptum.

“He had more reasons not to succeed than to succeed but he worked against the odds,” he said, describing his death as “a very heavy moment”.

Mourners started arriving at the funeral venue at dawn, some wearing black T-shirts with a picture of Kiptum emblazoned across the front.

They viewed the body, laid out in a half-open casket on a red carpet, as a choir sang hymns.

Four giant screens were mounted to stream the event for the many villagers gathered outside the venue.

Dozens of athletes including 1,500m record-holder Faith Kipyegon and two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha knelt in prayer near Kiptum’s casket before showering it with pink and white rose petals.

Neighbours described the star athlete as a “very generous man”.

“In his short life as an athlete, he’s helped in funding (the) education of some of the children at (his alma mater) the Chepsamo primary school,” neighbour Jackson Komen told AFP.

“He was so down-to-earth that when he had broken the world record he would still join his friends at the Chepkorio centre to play pool,” Komen added.

Candlelight vigil

Hundreds of people had turned out Thursday as Kiptum’s coffin was taken from the Rift Valley town of Eldoret to his home village of Chepkorio.

Hundreds of mourners also joined a solemn candlelight vigil in the nation’s capital Nairobi on Thursday, paying an emotional tribute to the rising star who had been the overwhelming favourite for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

After the funeral ceremony, Kiptum will be laid to rest in Naiberi, near Eldoret, where the government has built a new home for the family of the national hero.

Police said Kiptum was driving near Eldoret at around 11:00 pm on February 11 when his car careered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree.

Kenya’s chief government pathologist, Johansen Oduor, said on Wednesday an autopsy found Kiptum had suffered severe head injuries.

Toxicology tests were still under way, he added.

Kiptum’s Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana, 36, also died in the crash.

Hakizimana, who had trained Kiptum since 2019, was laid to rest in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Wednesday.

Known for maintaining a gruelling training schedule that sometimes topped 300 kilometres (190 miles) a week, Kiptum had recently announced he was hoping to smash the mythic two-hour mark at the Rotterdam Marathon in April.

 

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