Tayo Balogun, a sports analyst, has lamented the declining standards of professional boxing in the country,  describing it as non-existent.

Reminiscing about the days when the likes of Hogan Bassey, David and Emmanuel Izonrintie, Ike Ibeabuchi and, more recently, Samuel Peter adorned the Nigerian flag with medals and belts, Balogun advised that urgent steps be taken by the authorities to return professional boxing to its glorious days.

“There is no professional boxing in our country today and that’s because boxers are not as engaged as they used to be,” he said.  

“In those days, there were boxing clubs and there were those who enjoyed it as a sport. Then, if you went to the National Stadium, you will see boxers training on their own.

“But in recent times you don’t see such, so there is a gap, that’s why professional boxing is as good as dead.’’

Balogun stressed that it was only through a viable development programme at the amateur cadre of the sport that potential talents could be groomed for stardom at the professional ranks.

He, however, commended the current steps being taken by the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF) to sustain the sport in the country.

“They are trying now and I must tell you that boxing has been growing in leaps and bounds,” he said.

“If it continues that way, we should expect good things from them in the next two to three years.”

When asked to comment on the current level of preparedness of the boxing team for the 2012 Olympics Games in London, he said, “if preparations match results, the country should get some medals from boxing.

“If the preparation matches the result, then we are getting a little better, they have gone into some qualifiers and some of them will be in the London Games.”

Balogun added that it would be an uphill task to predict those who could win medals for the country at this point in time.

“When Peter was going to the Olympics, nobody expected him to perform the way he did,” he said.  

“All those that have won medals previously just went there, did their best and got the medals. Nobody saw them as potential medalists, they just won.”

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