Nigeria’s rising star, Olaide Fijabi’s preparation for the defence of his Africa Boxing Union (ABU) Super Lightweight title in Dakar, Senegal, may have suffered a hitch, as the boxer sustained an injury in training on Saturday.
Fijabi, who knocked out a Tanzanian boxer, Shadrack Ignas Kobero, to claim the light welterweight title in December last year, was billed to face 31-year-old Senegalese, Abderrazak Houya, on October 20 at the Canal Olympia arena in Dakar, for the defence of the title.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that Fijabi sustained an eye cut injury, while sparring against Rilwan Oladosu, another Nigerian rising star in the lightweight category.
Contacted yesterday, Fijabi’s coach, Joe Mensah confirmed that the boxer sustained the injury on Saturday during one of his build-up trainings for the trip to Senegal.
“Fijabi is actually injured, and we have written to organisers of the event in Senegal to move the fight by two weeks. It is a title bout, and there is no way Fijabi can make the trip to Dakar for the October 20 fight with such an injury. It is not done anywhere in the world. We are still waiting for response from the organisers, Mensah stated.
According to the coach, Fijabi was given an elbow by Oladosu during a random sparring fight in their camp. “It was an unfortunate incident, but Fijabi is responding to treatment. He needs two weeks to be fully ready for the fight. We actually planned to depart for Senegal on October 17, but it is not possible now,” Mensah added.
Fijabi, a regular face in the GOtv Boxing Night, has a record of 11 straight wins without defeat, which includes five knockouts, while his Senegalese challenger, Houya, has 11 fights, 10 wins and one defeat. In his last fight, Fijabi secured a unanimous decision against Kazeem Ariyo during the 15th GOtv Boxing Night in Ibadan in July, just as the Senegalese also won his last fight in March this year by defeating France’s Aimen Souihli with a unanimous point decision.