Eight Nigerian boxers have advanced to the quarter-finals of the Africa Olympic Boxing qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal, as they aim to secure spots at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Nine boxers travelled to Dakar to represent Nigeria at the qualifiers and only Fatai Moshood (71kg) failed to advance, falling to DR Congo’s Steve Kulenguluka in the round of 32 September 10.
On Monday, which marked Day 3 of the competition, three Nigerian boxers were in action and they all sealed their spots in the quarter-finals with two knockouts and one unanimous decision win.
UK-based Nigerian heavyweight, Olaore Adams, faced Ivory Coast’s Zahouli Bi Marshal in the men’s 92kg category and wasted no time securing a knockout victory in the first round.
Joy Ojo then went on to knock out Zambia’s Mhango Mary in the women’s 57kg category in the third and final round.
In the final fight of the day, Omole Dolapo battled Ghanaian Omar Abdul in the men’s 57kg category and secured a unanimous decision win after three rounds.
Six female boxers and two male boxers now remain in the competition, which resumes on Wednesday (today) after Tuesday was fixed as a rest day.
The boxers still representing Nigeria are Omole Dolapo (57kg) and Olaore Adams (92kg) for the male categories, while Oyesiji Adeola (50kg), Adesina Zainab (54kg), Ojo Joy (57kg), Cynthia Ogunsemilore (60kg), Damilola Shodipe (66kg), and Patricia Mbata (75kg) are in the female categories.
Team Nigeria’s boxers are accompanied by two coaches, Anthony Konyegwachie who competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics and Adura Olalehin.
These boxers are one step closer to achieving their Olympic dreams and put Nigeria, which was once one of the biggest Olympic boxing countries back on the map.
The country has not won any medal in the event since Duncan Dokiwari’s bronze medal in the super heavyweight class in 1996. In fact, Nigerian boxers have found it difficult to qualify for the event, with the country presenting only a boxer at the Rio 2016 Games and failing to qualify for the event at the Japan 2020 edition.