29 Jun 2015

Bash Ali writes President Buhari over Guinness World Record fight

Former North American Boxing Federation (NABF) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) World Cruiserweight champion, Bash Ali, has written to President Mohammadu Buhari over his bid to create a Guinness World Record as the oldest boxer to fight in a competitive bout.

Ali has since 2005 been involved in a process that would lead to him becoming the oldest boxer to engage in a championship bout, but, according to him, his efforts have been frustrated by corruption in government circles.

In the letter dated June 26, 2015, Ali pleaded with Buhari to help him actualise his dream, which, according to him, would not only put Nigeria in the Guinness Book of Records, but would also earn the country a lot of money that could be channelled into sports development.
He revealed, “for a small investment of $48 million, Nigeria would earn a $750 million minimum profit from Pay Per View Television (PPVTV) from the United States of America (USA) only, not counting on PPVTV profits from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, which could amount to over $1 billion. Above all, Nigeria will become the first country in Africa to host a Guinness World Record (GWR) Boxing Championship Fight.

“Part of the PPV TV profit would be used to establish five sports academies with Olympic size swimming pool across Nigeria at $20 million each and a $20 million sports equipment manufacturing factory in Nigeria.

“These establishments would give Nigerian athletes an avenue to exhibit their talents, an avenue to earn a livelihood and above all would create employment avenue for Nigerians. But this Nigeria Project/Historic Event has been stalled because of corruption and bad administration at the National Sports Commission (NSC) and at NEXIM Bank.”
He alleged that former President Goodluck Jonathan gave his approval for the fight to be staged in Nigeria, with an instruction that funds be made available for the event, “but nothing positive has happened despite clear instruction from the Federal Government.”

He accused officials of NEXIM Bank and the National Sports Commission (NSC) of stalling the fight because they wanted him to part with some of the budgeted fund, adding that he was once arrested and detained in an Abuja Prison because he refused to compromise his stands on the event.

Ali told Buhari that he has had several offers to fight outside Nigeria, adding, however, “I prefer my own country because this is a Nigeria Project and could be an historic event.
“On February 27, 2015, I was offered 15 million euros and 20 per cent of PPVTV profit to fight in Germany but I refused the offer.

“All Guinness World Record fights have always been fought in the USA with the exception of the Joe Bugner versus Bonecrusher Smith fight, which held in Australia. So, it is only befitting that your brother breaks the record in our fatherland, Nigeria. I want to bring honour, glory and clean money to Nigeria.”
To successfully stage the fight in Nigeria, Ali wants President Buhari within seven working days to “immediately take over the total control of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for effective, transparent and positive development in order to meet with the International Boxing Union requirements or instruct the new NSC Director General, Yakmut Alhassan to act in your stead.”

Credit: Christian Okpar/Nigerian Guardian

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