64-Year-Old Stakes His Life on Guinness World Record as Oldest Man in Boxing Ring
A Nigerian boxer, Bashiru Lawrence Ali, who is popularly called Bash Ali, has revealed his determination to erase Hopkins’ history in the Guinness World Record. At 64, Bash Ali, a former wrestler turned boxer believes if the whites can hold the record, it is now the turn of an African to become the oldest man on earth to win a world boxing title; and he is leaving nothing to chance to ensure that this dream comes to reality very soon.
Bash Ali has many records credited to him. He received the highest national honour ever given to a sports man or woman in Nigeria; Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) was accorded him by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. He is the only boxer in the world who never fought as an amateur boxer and then went on to become a world boxing champion. He became a world champion on September 9, 2000 when he beat Terry Ray of USA in Lagos to win the World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiser-weight title.
Bash Ali with VP Osinbajo during a recent visit to Lagos, Nigeria
“I am also the only boxer in the world to win every boxing cruiserweight championship title conceivable: California, United States Boxing Association, North America Boxing Federation, World Boxing Council International (twice) and the current World Boxing Federation Cruiserweight title. I am having 75W 57KO 12L. I am a great boxer and the best in the world. This Guinness World Boxing Championship Bout would confirm it,” the boxer, who started his boxing career in California, USA in September 1978 told Timescape Magazine in Lagos, Nigeria.
Nigeria's Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (left) receiving a boxing glove souvenier from Bash Ali during a visit to Lagos recently.
He disclosed that he had made several attempts to see that the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship is held in Nigeria but the support from the successive governments had not been forthcoming due to bad administration and corruption.
Bash Ali is someone that won’t give in to corruption before he does anything, a situation that saw him finding it difficult to receive official support from the governments in Nigeria, not until when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015.
Despite the frustration from officials of the government, he remains resolute and focused on the glory ahead. He thanked God that his patriotism and tenacity have paid off for him, as President Buhari has taken up the fight and has directed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to ensure that all support is given for the organisation of the boxing championship in Nigeria. Bash Ali is expected to square it up in the ring with a yet to be named foreign boxer when the bout is staged.
Bash Ali (3rd left) , ex Minister of Sports (4th left) and other members of the LOC after the inauguration last year's May
“Since the November 9, 2006 inauguration of the Bash Ali Boxing Project Local Organizing Committee to organize in Nigeria the first Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight to happen on the soil of Africa, I have been fighting with criminal government officials who specialize in corruption and bad administration.
And despite being detained at eight various police stations in Abuja, despite being beaten up severally and twice admitted at the National Hospital, Abuja to heal my wounds, despite being detained at Kuje Prison, Abuja from February 9-April 2, 2015, despite several juicy offers of up to 50 million Euros to fight outside of Nigeria, despite several foreign newspapers including a New York Times article that says, ‘I am campaigning in vain in Nigeria to host my GWR fight.
Despite all these, I never gave up on Nigeria and I am happy to tell the world that my patriotism and tenacity have been recognised by our President, Muhammadu Buhari who has directed the Minister of Sport, Mr. Sunday Dare to go and organize in Nigeria the first Guinness World Record fight to happen on the soil of Africa. The President’s directive was conveyed to me on Monday, November 4, 2019 when I paid the Minister a courtesy visit in Abuja,” the boxer narrated.
Speaking on the reason he is hell bent in seeing that the fight is staged in Nigeria, Bash Ali disclosed that a Guinness World Record fight has never been held on the soil of Africa.
“So, this would be the first and the most lucrative boxing show in the history of Pay Per View Television. As we are throwing punches in Nigeria, it will be shown live on PPV TV in 132 countries and will be watched by an estimated audience of between 15-20 million viewers at the rate of US100 per viewer for a US1.5m minimum PPVTV Revenue. And the most important reason is that should the fight go the 12 rounds distance, I will get a fair decision because out of the three judges, there will be a Nigerian, American and a neutral judge, but if it holds outside and it goes the 12 rounds distance, I will be robbed of the decision because they will not want a Nigerian to occupy that special place in the Guinness Book World Record as the oldest boxer to win and successful defend a world title. It is called boxing politics. I want to win in Nigeria and I also want my country to get all the benefits that come with a Guinness World Record fight,” he said.
Timescape Magazine has been hinted that the Federal Government of President Buhari reconstituted a new Local Organising Committee on May 21, 2019. Top most in the list is the late Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to the President, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome, Chief Kenny Martins, Barrister George Ogarmah, the Chairman House Committee on Sports, Chairman Channels Television, Group Managing Director of Daar Communications, Directors General of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Executive Secretary National Lottery Trust Fund and the CEOs of Bank of Industry (BOI), Transcorp Hilton, Globacom and Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, Ademola Areh, Director Grassroots Sports Department in the Ministry of Sports as the Secretary, Mr. Tim Mudia Osayimwen, Assistant Secretary.
World Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion, Bash Ali
Other members of the LOC inaugurated by the immediate past Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung are Ogugua Anobili, who oversees Logistics & Event Management, Naama Bulama, Bishop Femi Iroh and Hon. Daniel Omoghelli.
The terms of reference of the LOC include but not limited to galvanising resources of support and funding through marketing and promotion to meet the immediate demands of the approving boxing unions, logistics and events management; to immediately re-invite to Nigeria, the President of the World Boxing Federation (WBF), the President of International Boxing Union (IBU) and the Pay Per View television operators for business discussion; to use a befitting venue in any state in Nigeria to host the historic fight and to undertake the packaging of the historic fight in an efficient, effective, transparent and accountable manner.
Bash Ali, who had his first professional fight against Junior Albers in his home town, Sacraments, California in 1978 at age 22 and received USD400 as his boxer purse told Timescape Magazine that he can’t wait to see the world return to normalcy after it might have conquered the ravaging novel coronavirus for the organisation of the fight to be back on the stage since the new Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare had received presidential directive on the fight.