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Israel Makinde has won Borno State’s only gold medal at the ongoing 21st National Sports Festival at the Event Centre, Okpanam, Delta State.
Makinde triumphed after beating Bayelsa’s Azeez Tijani in the final of the men’s 48kg boxing category after he earned a unanimous 5-0 result from all the judges’ scorecards.
Speaking to our correspondent after the fight, Makinde was ecstatic winning the historic medal.
“I feel better because I am making them (Borno) proud. I have won the gold now, so, they will be proud of boxing. I wanted to win the gold for them and for myself because I have been training for this for a long time.
“At Edo 2021, I won the gold medal in the same category, and I am glad I was able to defend the medal again,” he said.
Makinde told our correspondent that the fight was not an easy one, saying Tijani was a very skilled opponent.
“I’ve been watching his fights and studying him since the tournament started and I noticed that he is also a very good fighter. So, I had to be extraordinarily careful and take my shots as far as I could. The fight was a bit tough because when you meet a good boxer, you can see they are trying to predict your moves,” he said.
On nearly getting disqualified after two warnings by the ref, the 17-year-old added, “He said I am taking too many body shots and he was right. I did this because when I looked at his face, I saw something was wrong with him, but after he warned me, I had to stop the body shots, so, I wouldn’t get disqualified.”
Abayomi Oyeleye, head coach of Borno State Sports Council, said he was confident that Makinde would claim the gold.