“I hated every minute of training, But I said… Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion“
This statement was made by Muhammad Ali on how he used to motivate himself whenever he is in training.
I am sure someone reading this article might not know who Muhammad Ali is. This is why in this article we will take a walk into who he is, what boxing really is, the misconceptions about boxing, and the problem facing boxing in Africa.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in
Who is Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali, also known as ‘The greatest’, is one of the greatest of all time in the sport of boxing. He is a boxing legend and prime during his time as a professional boxer. He is also known as a world champion so many times.
Muhammad Ali begins boxing at the age of 12 as an amateur boxer. At the age of 18, he won a gold medal at Olympics in the lightweight division.
Ali is believed to be one of the toughest and the best boxers because of his great skills and moves. The world has always known him for his popular slang which says
He is also known to be a philosopher, an adviser, and an activist. As an activist, Ali believes that boxing is the only way for him to give voice to the voiceless and fight for the oppressed. He once said
The concept of BOXING
Actually, this article is not just written to tell you about the story of a boxer but it is written to tell you what boxing is all about, how it has taken part in promoting other essential parts of man’s livelihood whether physically, socially, and psychologically.
As we all know, Boxing is a martial art sport involving two people whereby punches are thrown at each other. These people throw their punches with the use of gloves – used as protection.
Other protective kits like mouthguards, ring shoes, etc., are being used too.
The misconceptions about boxing
Most people in society believe boxing is a sport of violence because it involves the exchange of punches between two people and during this process of exchange, people get injured.
To some people, boxing is a means of self-defense. In other words, the art can be used to fight against anyone trying to attack you violently.
Some also believe it is just a sport of fun and entertainment while others believe it is a sport of motivating one’s strength.
All these thoughts may be right but don’t conclude yet.
WHAT BOXING IS TRULY ALL ABOUT
Boxing is not just all about exchanging punches or causing violence. It has helped most people in many ways.
Muhammad Ali believes boxing is a means for him to be famous and after then, he can use his fame as a means of fighting for people’s rights.
Apart from that, boxing has logically helped youth that is addicted to drugs, or alcohol.
How is this possible?
Actually, anyone that is willing to become a boxer has to stop all these acts because it is believed that an intoxicated or addicted person can’t participate in boxing at any level – it is prohibited in boxing.
Mentally, boxing has also helped in reducing violence in society. This is possible because apart from the training in the gym or ring, a boxer is not allowed to fight using his boxing skills and if any boxer is found fighting outside the gym, he will be seriously penalized and his/her career may be on the line.
Like other sports, boxing has helped to reduce unemployment in society. Youths get involved in the sport and some of them succeeded.
Nigeria has produced record-breaking boxers like Samuel Peter ( known as ‘Nigerian Nightmare who held the WBC heavyweight title in 2008), Hogan Bassey (the first man of Nigerian descent to win a world boxing title in 1955 and 1957), Efe Ajagba (Born in 1994 had the record of the fastest victory in boxing history) and then the popular Anthony Joshua and BashAli.
Despite having all these legends in Nigeria, there is still a lot of problem facing the sport in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Problems Boxing Is Facing In Africa
Mostly in Africa, Boxers face a lot of problems, and these problems have led to most of them quit. Some of these problems may include
- Lack of proper gym for training: this is a general problem of boxing in Africa. Some gyms even lack boxing kits, which in turn makes boxers lack some skills in the sport.
- Health problem: Most boxers usually have serious health issues and injuries during and after their boxing careers which usually cost a lot. So, the boxer may end up spending his savings on solving these issues.
- Mismanagement of funds: this of course is a nonchalant attitude of most boxers whereby once money is made, they begin to live a lavish lifestyle. After they retire from the sport, they most likely don’t have enough savings to sustain them. So they go back to square one and the government does not even have any plan to support them.
- Lack of sponsors: Most sponsors only spend their money on famous boxers without even looking at the upcoming ones. These make amateur boxers quit easily.
What should be done to eradicate these problems
- Insurance: Boxers should be enlightened on how they can insure their properties and their health as well as create a means of life savings whereby they will save part of their fund to prevent financial crisis after retirement. The sports policy should mandate life insurance as a requirement.
- Another solution is that sponsors should try to breed more boxers instead of just putting all their attention on the famous ones. This will encourage the up-and-coming boxers.
- Government Support: Sportsmen should be compensated after a long time career by the government. Just as there is a pension plan for workers, the government should try to use this same system for people in sports who are representing the country. Also, the government should make policies that will encourage private investors to be interested in sports in Africa. This will bring about more employment opportunities and in turn better the economy.
Boxer such as Mike Tyson has stated how boxing has changed their livelihoods. He shared how he stop committing atrocities because of boxing. If more youths in Africa are given the opportunity too, good things might come out of them – including those causing damage to the continent. We can give every youth a reason to dream big.
Sports, in general, should be taken seriously in Africa. We are lagging. A lot of youth’s careers and personal development journeys are attached to it.
As I drop my pen, let me leave you with this quote by the legendary boxer himself
WRITER: Yusuf onaolapo Yusuf