By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The much talked about ‘Guinness Book’ of record fight being projected by former world champion, Bash Ali, does not have any backing from the renowned organisation purportedly supporting it.
A source, who said he has worked extensively on Bash Ali’s Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Bout, expressed reservations about the transparency of the project.
The source who does not want to be named because he does not have his organization’s clearance to speak revealed that, “We started promoting this fight in 2006. Till date, we have seen over 20 private companies offering various forms of support but yet, we are still in the dark as to what has happened, what is happening and what may happen.”
Another source said “Bash Ali should know that Nigerians are wiser now and cannot be fooled any longer.
“When Dalung was Sports Minister, the federal government mandated another former Sports Minister, the late Bala Bawa Kaoje to help sort out the modalities for this fight, get sponsors and fix a date. Bash Ali later accused the former minister of cornering his monies and deliberately stopping the process, forcing Kaoje to wash his hands off the fight.
“Bash Ali once embarked on a hunger strike and slept by the roadside in Abuja daily for more than one year. He made so much on the street and soon retired to his house after the government intervened. He has used this fight to blackmail all former sports Ministers from 2006 till date. Nigerians can no longer be fooled. This fight is not on the WBO, WBA or IBO register, it is purely a private venture aimed at making cool cash and should be championed by the NBB of C. This has got nothing to do with Nigeria which should be more interested in discovering grassroots talents that can win laurels for Nigeria, not some tired pensioner,” the source stated.
Meanwhile, Bash Ali has debunked the claim, saying his ‘Guinness Book’ fight has the backing of the federal government.
“Despite three inaugurations by the FG, despite letters written to the world boxing body to guarantee their safety in Nigeria, despite PMB personally directing Sunday Dare to meet with me and despite the meeting, they claimed it is not recognized by the FG because I refused to kowtow to their demands. “One of the most respected newspapers in the world, the New York Times, says I am campaigning in vain in Nigeria for a fight that will put me in the Guinness World Record as the OLDEST boxer to attain the feat. Does that not tell u something,” Ali queried?