Lt. General Kenneth Minimah (rtd.), the President of the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF), has officially confirmed that Nigeria has applied for and been accepted into the newly formed World Boxing body, challenging the authority of the International Boxing Association (IBA) as the amateur boxing governing body. This confirmation directly contradicts the earlier denial made by the federation’s vice president, Azania Omo-Agege.
The recent inclusion of Nigeria on the list of countries that applied for and were granted membership status by World Boxing has now been solidified by Minimah’s statement. The move by Nigeria to withdraw from the IBA and join the new organization is a response to the ongoing conflict between Russia and the rest of the world over its invasion of Ukraine, which has negatively affected the sport of boxing.
In a press release issued on Monday, Minimah stated, “I wish to inform all print and electronic media and the Olympic Boxing community that the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF), under my leadership, applied and joined World Boxing on October 20, 2023. The decision to join was also validated at a meeting of the executive board of the NBF.”
Minimah also expressed his disappointment regarding Omo-Agege’s unauthorized actions, such as issuing media releases and forging the federation’s letterhead, without consulting the board or obtaining approval. He assured that appropriate actions would be taken by the board to address these violations.
While Minimah emphasized Nigeria’s pride in being associated with World Boxing and the efforts made to incorporate boxing into the Olympics, Omo-Agege continues to deny Nigeria’s membership. Omo-Agege has even threatened legal action against World Boxing, demanding that they refrain from interfering in Nigeria’s boxing affairs.
It is important to note that the International Boxing Association (IBA) has been suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and there is a possibility of boxing being excluded from future Olympics if the issues are not resolved. Nigeria, as an Olympic nation, seeks to protect its boxing interests by aligning with World Boxing.
The conflicting statements made by the NBF’s president and vice president highlight a division within the federation. While Minimah asserts that Nigeria is a member of World Boxing, Omo-Agege maintains loyalty to the IBA. This internal dispute will likely be resolved through the appropriate channels within the NBF.
In response to Omo-Agege’s claims, World Boxing has clarified that Nigeria’s application for membership met all the necessary requirements and was approved by the executive board. They also received support from the Nigerian National Olympic Committee, confirming that the Nigeria Boxing Federation is the sole recognized body responsible for organizing boxing in Nigeria.
The ongoing controversy surrounding Nigeria’s membership in World Boxing highlights the importance of maintaining unity and clarity within international sporting organizations. It remains to be seen how this situation will develop and how it will impact the future of Nigerian boxing.