Dick Tiger (right) defeated GENE Fullmer by a seventh-round knock out to retain his WBC World Middleweight Title at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, in 1963.
• Scorpion battles Spain’s Savin for WBF international super featherweight title
On august 10, 1963, Nigeria’s sports enthusiasts and indeed all patriots stood up to applaud the country’s then brightest sports star, Dick Tiger, as he dismantled America’s Gene Fullmer to retain his world middleweight title at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan.
It was the biggest day in Nigeria’s boxing history, as Fullmer then had gained notoriety for his four fights against Sugar Ray Robinson, who was the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on earth. But such reputations counted for nothing as Dick Tiger, in front of over 35,000 cheering fans, produced a seven round knock out to effectively confirm his superiority over the American. Before then, both men had met two times, with Tiger winning one and the other ending in a draw.
Fast forward to December 27, 2020. Another Nigerian, Ridwan Oyekola, also known as Scorpion, will step into the ring in Ibadan to battle with Spain’s Jose Ramon Savin in a World Boxing Federation (WBF) International Super Featherweight title bout.
The contest, which will hold at the Ilaji Sports and Resort Centre, Ibadan, is being championed by the owner of the resort, Dotun Sanusi, along with some of the best brains in Nigerian boxing scene.
Sanusi, who recently launched a partnership between Ilaji Soccer Academy and Malaga CF of Spain, said he was convinced that Oyekola would do the nation proud hence his decision to support the boxer’s quest to become the latest world champion from the country.
Also part of the plans for a successful fight in Ibadan is the president of Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBBofC), Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, who said at the unveiling of the fight’s programme that the bout is part of efforts to resuscitate the country’s professional boxing.
“Another history is about to be made in Ibadan, as the World Boxing Federation (WBF) has officially sanctioned an International Super Featherweight title bout between our own Ridwan Oyekola (Nigeria) and Jose Ramos Savin (Spain). WBF President, Howard Goldberg, personally sanctioned the fight.
“We need huge money to execute this bout and Sanusi has just come to our aid.
“We are going to ensure a good preparation for Oyekola so he could do the nation proud. On the part of NBBofC, we’re calling other corporate bodies and Oyo State government for support for this bout as there are many other logistics needs to make the event hitch-free,” he said.
Among members of the planning committee are NBBofC Secretary, Remi Aboderin, the CEO of Core Afrique Boxing Promotion, who is promoting the fight, Sola Ayodele, popularly known as Sola Ford, and the Chairman of Oyo State chapter of NBBofC, Gbenga Opaleye and Olanrewaju Agiri.
The event has also been confirmed by Spanish media, with ‘Solid Shock Press’ saying on its website: “Confirmed the fight of our boxer José Ramos Savin vs.. Ridwan Oyekola next December 27, 2020. The Spanish fighter will travel to the African continent for the Intercontinental Super Pluma (WBF) World Boxing Federation specifically in Ibadan, Nigeria, where Oyekola is a native.”