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Boxing coach recollects golden days

25 August 2014, 15:24

Lagos - Former boxing great Obisia Nwankpa recollects his time in the ring.

Nwankpa was a Commonwealth Games and All Africa Games gold medalist in his hay days. His talent in boxing was discovered early at the Mapara Boys School and he was sent on a nine month training tour in Germany.

“By the time I returned to the country from Germany, I was an entirely different person and there was no going back for me in the game,” Nwankpa told thisdaylive.com.

“By 1970, I was already a national champion, which to me was a great achievement because before I left for Germany, I was nobody. In those days, a man called Nocolas Kusry was running a boxing club called Igbobi Boxing Club around Mushin and it was one of the most popular boxing clubs in Lagos then.

Also read: Nwakpa unimpressed with boxers

“That was when I started picking interest in the act of boxing and interestingly too, it was at that time that the great Muhammed Ali, Hogan Bassey and Dick Tiger were reigning. These boxers really influenced my taking to boxing. I was so small then, but I took advantage of the fact that a boxing coach was residing in my area to go for training after school.”

Even at 60-years-old, his passion for the sport remains.

“For me, boxing is life and I can't imagine doing something else aside boxing,” added Nwankpa

“After spending virtually all my life associating with the sport, either as a boxer or as a coach, I can't think of any other thing.”

Despite his boxing fame, Nwankpa has struggled to make end meet in his later years and has suffered financially.

“I made fortune while I was fighting, but the general notion that I frittered it on women is not true,” he said.

“I spent my money to enjoy my good life."

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