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GOtv: A Brand Offering the Springboard for Local Boxing Talents

GOtv

A new Nigerian boxing sensation emerged on May 1 at the Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, when 16-year-old Raheem “Badoo” Animashaun emerged best boxer at the 31st edition of GOtv Boxing Night.

‘Badoo’ defeated his more experienced opponent, Samuel “Apata Roro” Moses in the fourth round of their national light welterweight challenge bout to take home the Mojisola Ogunsanya Memorial Trophy and the cash prize of N1 million attached.

He became the third rookie boxer to win the prize, after two other Nigerian boxers, Opeyemi ‘Sense’ Adeyemi, and Rilwan ‘Babyface’ Babatunde, won the award at GOtv Night 18, and 21 respectively. These boxers have since risen to stardom on the GOtv Boxing Night platform and elsewhere, with their path to stardom an attestation to GOtv’s investment and commitment to boxing growth in Nigeria.

For ‘Badoo’, Boxing runs in the genes. When GOtv Boxing Night birthed in 2014, his father, Jamiu “Rotor” Animashaun, was one of the professional boxers who graced the rings. ‘Rotor’ was on the bill at the second edition of GOtv Boxing Night held in 2015. On the other hand, “Babyface”, who rose to become the national, sub-regional and African Boxing Union welterweight champion, is a product of GOtv NextGen search, an initiative aimed at discovering and nurturing young amateur boxing talents. “Sense”, who currently plies his trade in the United States of America, is also a product of GOtv Boxing Night and was chosen at as the standout rookie at the fourth edition of the initiative in Abeokuta in 2018.

While the GOtv brand continued to invest in talent development, GOtv Boxing Night, organised by Flykite Productions, has established a strong platform for Nigerian boxers to vie for world and regional titles. Taiwo “Esepor’ Agbaje is currently the biggest name on GOtv Boxing Night circuit, after he made the event his springboard to national and international recognition.

The boxer, who has won the GOtv Boxing Night best boxer award more than any other, fulfilled his dream of becoming a world champion in December 22, when he defeated his Filipino opponent, Richard Taruc Pumicpic, to win the World Boxing Federation Intercontinental featherweight title at GOtv Boxing Night 27.

Prior to Esepor’s feat, another Nigerian, Onoriode “Godzilla” Ehwariemi, won the World Boxing Federation intercontinental heavyweight title by defeating Ariel “Chiquito” Baracamonte of Argentina, at GOtv Boxing Night 20. This was followed by a double world title win for Nigerian boxers at the 22nd edition, where Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu and “Babyface” won the WBF world super featherweight and welterweight titles respectively.

Likewise, GOtv Boxing Night has produced memorable career moments for Nigerian boxers on the regional front. At the last edition of the boxing fest, two Nigerians, Segun “War” Adeyemi, and Adeyemi “Spirit” Adekanla, battled each other for the West African Boxing Union (WABU) light welterweight title, with “War” emerging victorious. He thus joined the likes of “Real One”, Taiwo “Gentle Boy’ Olowu, Olaide” Fijaborn” Fijabi, Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph, Waidi “Skoro” Usman,  and “Babyface”, on the list of Regional title winners on the GOtv Boxing Night stage.

The GOtv Boxing Night platform has also provided huge international exposure to boxing talents. In 2017, Abolaji “Afonja Warrior” Rasheed, boxed for the then-vacant super welterweight Commonwealth title, in Sheffield England. In 2018, Waidi “Skoro” Usman, battled Azinga “Golden Boy” Fuzile in South Africa, for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Continental Africa super featherweight title. Similarly, “Baby Face” of the GOtv NextGen fame, vied for the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Oriental middleweight title against Ukrainian Dymtro Mytrovanov in Kiev. For the three boxers, it was their first professional match outside the country’s shores.

With GOtv Nigeria, and Flykite Productions, boxers on the local scene can continue to cling to the hope of actualising their career dreams, under the lights, or the night skies, when GOtv Boxing Night returns for the next edition.