Former African Boxing Union (ABU) light welterweight champion, Olaide “Fijaborn” Fijabi, has explained why he flew into a rage at the press conference announcing GOtv Boxing Night 18. At the parley, which held last Tuesday in Lagos, Fijabi leapt out of his seat, yelling angrily at Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, the West African Boxing Union (WABU) lightweight champion who, in turn, was shouting at the ABU lightweight champion, Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph.
The conduct of Fijabi, a two-time winner of the best boxer award at GOtv Boxing Night, caught many unawares, as he has always been a man of few words, who is more eloquent with his fists. But breaking his silence on the incident for the first time, the darling of Lagos boxing fans said he was irked by the decision of Oladosu to openly challenge Joe Boy at the press conference.
Speaking in Lagos on Monday, Fijabi explained that he was irritated by the fact that Oladosu is a sub-regional champion, who should have wait to accumulate enough experience before contemplating taking on Joe Boy for the ABU title.
“My view is that if he wants to be considered a contender for the ABU lightweight title, he should fight and build his profile by taking on opponents that Joe Boy had defeated. If he defeats them, we can then view him as eligible to fight Joe Boy, who has fought many battles to be where he is. He is a good boxer and is sufficiently talented to defeat Joe Boy. I am not saying he will, but he can. Joe Boy can also win the fight. I just want a situation in which it will not seem he is being fast-tracked to the title,” he said.
Efforts to hush him up by the organisers and officials of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C) were unsuccessful, as he remained defiant, shouting his objection to the Oladosu’s open challenge to Joe Boy. Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, NBB of C President, for instance, explained to him that open challenges are commonplace in the sport, but Fijabi would not be pacified.
In further explanation of his stance, the former ABU champion said, a few people understood what he meant, while others assumed he was supporting Joe Boy.
“My point is that I don’t want the records each of the boxers have managed to build up to be damaged by a defeat to either of them. There is no out-and-out favourite between the two. Abroad, No 1 and No.2 are usually kept apart to ensure their records remain unblemished. That is the point I was making and I stand by that. Oladosu should get on the queue and wait for his time,” he said.
For over two years, boxing fans have longed to see Joe Boy and Oladosu face each other. Both are considered the best in their category and the bout has the potential of being explosive. If Joe Boy successfully defends his title at GOtv Boxing Night 18 at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, on 21 April, his next defence may be against Oladosu.