The National Open Boxing Championship ended at the Brai Ayonote Boxing Gymnasium of the National Stadium, Lagos, on Saturday with most of the boxers complaining about the prize money and the organisation of the competition.
The Nigerian Army won with four gold, one silver and five bronze. They were followed by Lagos State in second place with three gold, six silver and three bronze, while the Nigeria Police Force came third with one gold, two silver and one bronze.
Ogun State finished fourth with one gold, one silver and two bronze.
Some of the boxers, who spoke with our correspondent after the competition, expressed their displeasure at the money various winners got after fighting for six days.
Each of the boxers who won gold in their categories was given N10,000.Each silver medallist received N7,000 while each bronze medallist got N5,000 from the Nigeria Boxing Federation.
The boxers, who spoke to our correspondent, said they had been demoralised by the prize money.
The victorious pugilists were also not happy that the federation did not give them medals but certificates without their names written on them.
Kazeem Soleye of Kano State said the prize money was too small as they went through a lot to come to the competition.
He said, “I didn’t win any medal for my state but I believe that the federation should have done more than they did.
“Giving gold medallists N10,000 tends to belittle their efforts. The NBF should have given at least N15,000 or more for gold, N13,000 for silver and N10,000 for bronze.
“This development could make boxers lose interest in the sport. When you train all year round and you attend a competition and at the end of the day, you are given peanuts after winning, it saddens one.
“There wasn’t even a medal to show for your effort, but a certificate that could get torn. The NBF really could have done better than this.”
Another boxer Sunday Ojo of Ondo State said, “Although we are happy that there was eventually a competition for us after a long time, we believe that the federation could have done better than this.
“Many boxers are not happy with many things in this competition. Apart from the hostel accommodation and the feeding, other things were not in a proper place. The prize money is too small and if many us knew that the prize money would be small, we won’t have bothered to come.”
Cross River State boxing coach, Mary Obo-Ekpo, urged the NBF to repair the gymnasium.
She said, “The hall was dirty. The federation and organisers need to work on the gym. The floor has become weak and everywhere easily becomes dirty.
“The competition was a good outing for our young boxers because they have gained some experience but there is more to be done about boxing officiating in Nigeria, because that is another area of this competition that needs to be looked at.”
However, the Secretary of the NBF, Chimezie Asiegbu, refused to comment on the issue.
Asiegbu said, “My job was to organise the competition, which I have done. I don’t have any comment on the prize money awarded to the boxers at the competition.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.