The changing face of Nigerian royalty took a rather quirky form with the announcement that the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, will mount the ring for a boxing match!
With traditional rulers across the country increasingly inclined to unorthodox drives – as amply illustrated by Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi and Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi– a glove-wearing Oba still seemed a little over the top.
However, Oba Adeyemi – an ex-boxer of repute who retired from the sport after his coronation in 1970 – has decided to do just that and will be taking on an opponent at Oyo Township Stadium today.
Vanguard reports that the royal bout is the peak of a nine-day event lined up to mark the 78th birthday of Oba Adeyemi, with a belt to be presented to the winner.
According to Isiaka Olatunji, Vice President of Nigerian Boxing Managers Association, the belt was presented as a birthday gift to the Oba by United States based ex-boxer, Mojeed Okedara, but the formidable King said he would prefer fighting for it.
Olatunji further stated that Alaafin has been training hard for the coming fight, as he intends to take the belt home.
“His imperial majesty, Alaafin has been training hard everyday for the bout. I’m sure with level of his training, he is ready for the title fight,” he said.
One may say he doesn’t need much training, what with the backing of the gods. But then, can his opponent really land a punch?.
We’ll find out by 11am today when the mother of all fights comes up.