2019 African Games silver medallist, Abdulafeez Osoba told www.aclsports.com that he considered quitting boxing after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) scrapped the final Olympic boxing qualifier for Tokyo 2020 in Paris next June.
Osoba said his chances of qualifying through the World Olympic Qualifier were strong considering his level of training ongoing in Lagos, Nigeria.
The national champion said he will shift his focus on how to keep fit for the rest of 2021.
He said, “When the news broke that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) has canceled upcoming qualifiers for Boxing, I thought it was a joke not until the news was confirmed by one of the national coaches. I felt very sad and the thoughts of quitting boxing came to my mind but I said to myself that I will never quit till I become a household name in Nigeria boxing community.
“I strongly believe that if the qualifiers had gone on, I stood a chance of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics because I had dedicated my time to serious training and my constant prayers to Allah would have kept me going.
“Since there are no major boxing tournaments in the country, I will keep on training throughout this year in order to keep fit and I know the future is bright”.
Commenting on the constant postponement of the National Sports Festival, Osoba said “To be honest with you, I am tired of the Nigeria system. If you go to other African countries, you will see that their systems are working and the boxers are always busy either with their own Sports Festival or their National Championships.
Osoba said the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be his next focus before turning into a professional boxer.
He said, “I will shift my focus on next year’s Commonwealth Games and afterwards, turn professional because the system for amateur boxing is not encouraging at all”.
The final Olympic boxing qualifier for Tokyo 2020, a global event which had been due to take place in Paris in June – has been scrapped.
53 quota places that would have been available at the World Olympic Qualifier will now be assigned based on rankings instead, with the best-ranked boxer per region, per weight category receiving a Tokyo 2020 berth.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) said the changes to the qualification system ensure athletes from all regions have an equal chance to qualify for the Games.