Nigeria’s Oshoba knocked out his rival in the third session at Birmingham 2022
July 30th, 2022 / Commonwealth Games 2022
Nigeria’s All African Games silver medallist, 26-year-old Abdul-Azeez Oshoba, knocked out his veteran rival from the Bahamas in the quickest bout of the third session at the Commonwealth Games.
The crowd at the National Exhibition Centre followed the English stars of the day, Lewis Williams and Jodie Wilkinson.
Botswana and Fiji are among the winners in the men’s featherweight (57kg)
Botswana has two male boxers in the Commonwealth Games and both are very experienced in their weight categories. George Molwantwa faced another African rival, Uganda’s newcomer Jonathan Kyobe, and managed to win the featherweight contest (57kg) due to a fantastic finish. Fiji’s Jone Davule worked hard in the recent two years during the Covid-19 period and moved down to the featherweight (57kg) to compete at the Commonwealth Games. Davule became Fiji’s first winner in the boxing venue following his narrow success over Mauritius’ Niven Chemben.
Clotilde Essiane had a good start in her new weight class
Cameroon’s Clotilde Essiane joined the international boxing business very late at the age of 32 but she won tournaments as a debutant. The 37-year-old Essiane was selected to represent Team Cameroon at the Commonwealth Games where her first opponent was another veteran, Barbados’ Kimberly Gittens. The African boxer was taller than Gittens and she tried to use her distance in the first round against the Barbadian who had already competed at the 2010 Women’s World Boxing Championships. Cameroon’s pride advanced to the quarter-finals after winning the bout unanimously, but she had a hard job against Gittens today.
“I moved down to light middleweight because this is much better for my physical condition. I was too small for middleweight in previous years. I was not expecting that tough fight today, my Barbadian opponent worked well in all three rounds. It is always hard to get a good start in such a huge event as the Commonwealth Games but my target is the final here,” said Cameroon’s Clotilde Essiane.
Jodie Wilkinson eliminated the All Africa Games winner
England’s newcomer at light middleweight (70kg) is Jodie Wilkinson who made her debut at the Commonwealth Games on Day 2. She took punches from Nigeria’s All Africa Games winner Bolanle Temitope Shogbamu in the first round, and her rival had a tight advantage on the scorecards after three minutes. Wilkinson’s defence was not closed enough and Shogbamu’s jabs found their way between her gloves in the first part of the battle. The English boxer stepped onto the gas and landed nice left hooks, delighting the home crowd. The third round delivered an honest fight between them despite both being tired after two rounds of busy boxing, but Wilkinson was more punctual with her shots in the last period.
“I have had less than 30 contests but I worked hard to be here at the Commonwealth Games. I believe the second round was my best today and I tried to do more in the third to beat the Nigerian. I am tired but ready for the next challenge,” said England’s new national team member, Jodie Wilkinson.
Arena Pakela is Lesotho’s second winner
Uganda’s Isaac Zebra Ssenyange follows his father’s pathway who boxed for the country in several championships in the past. The Ugandan southpaw faced another African rival, Lesotho’s Arena Pakela who moved down to light middleweight (71kg) just before the start of the Games. The Ugandan teenager was taller and had a longer reach, but bravely fought at close distance against the six-years-older opponent from Lesotho. Ssenyange landed two brilliant left-handed jabs in the middle of the second round which stopped Pakela’s attacks, but his opponent also worked hard in the round. Lesotho’s pride started the third round in a different rhythm and his efforts were enough to eliminate the youngest competitor of the Commonwealth Games.
“My opponent was very tall and it was hard to fight against him today. I had to change my tactics in this bout to beat him. I also changed my weight class in recent weeks due to my height and this light middleweight is perfect for me,” said Lesotho’s Arena Pakela after his difficult triumph.
Oshoba knocked out his rival
Nigeria sent four boxers to the Commonwealth Games, including Abdul-Afeez Oshoba who opened a successful campaign in Birmingham. The Nigerian National Sports Festival winner had a more experienced rival, Bahamas’ Carl Hield but he opened the first minute with better punches. Oshoba landed a lethal shot at the end of the first round causing a classic knockout.
“The feeling is fantastic to start successfully at the Commonwealth Games, the atmosphere of the venue is impressive. I have only had a few international bouts and we don’t have good facilities in Nigeria but we are trying to do our best to be the best. I was not expecting the knockout, we planned to fight three rounds today but one of my shots decided this contest,” added Nigeria’s Abdul-Afeez Oshoba.
England’s Lewis Williams impressed his family
England’s Lewis Williams achieved a bronze medal at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan and he was named as the favourite of the men’s heavyweight category (92kg) in Birmingham following the injury of New Zealand’s star, David Nyika. Williams was nearly 20cm taller than his South Asian opponent, Pakistan’s Nazeerullah Khan, which he used well enough today. Khan made his international debut in this bout and he was nervous in the first round against the English giant. Mr. Arshad Hussain, the national coach in Pakistan calmed his pupil down leading to a more competitive second round. Williams increased his tempo and the right hooks stopped Khan’s attacks. Williams dominated the start of the third round, he had stronger shots in comparison to the previous two rounds.
“I am a local boy and all of my relatives and friends were here in the venue. They created a fantastic atmosphere today, I was happy to fight here. This first bout was an exercise for me, a warm-up for the next part of the Commonwealth Games. I was expecting that New Zealand’s David Nyika would be here and I could beat him in the final but hopefully we can fight in the next event. I will try to repeat this performance in my next bout,” added England’s Lewis Williams to his opening success.