Veteran boxer, Bash Ali’s proposed world Guinness title fight has been dealt a heavy blow as the National Sports Commission has finally forfeited the boxer’s hope for funds to prosecute the bout.
NSC chairman and Minister of Sport Bolaji Abdullahi stated that the commission will not be able to sponsor the fight during a ministerial press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
The historic fight has been put together by Ali to enable him become the oldest boxer ever, a title presently enjoyed by George Foreman of the USA.
There were other reports Ali was manhandled by policemen when he moved to see the Minister in Abuja last Thursday for which Abdullahi has apologized.
Ali had pleaded with several governments, been to different public offices and the People Democratic Party’s national secretariat for support ahead of the fight scheduled to be hosted in the Country.
At the inauguration of the ‘Rhythm N’ Play’ grassroots sports development programme at the Abuja National Stadium, LEADERSHIP Newspaper reports that Ali had scuffled with President Goodluck Jonathan’s aides, which later attracted the attention of the president. He was allowed to see the president, stated his mission and, when Jonathan asked the Minister on Ali’s case, he said it was in process.
Ali also revealed that when he opted to see the minister at a private luncheon last Thursday, he was manhandled by the minister’s police aides and denied audience.
According to the boxer, the proposed fight won’t cost the government as much, corporate organizations have indicated interest to finance the event, but for the government to endorse.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Newspaper on Monday, Ali expressed confidence in the president’s resolve, but thinks the ministry have played foul for not keeping to their promise.
“My president is a man of honour; he will not say something and do another thing. I saw him one on one last Thursday. But if the minister is doing otherwise, then Nigeria is in trouble,”