|Interview with Nigerian Amateur National Champion Yusuf Adeniji!
Interview by Jason Petock, DoghouseBoxing (Oct 30, 2009)
While there remains a great distance between the United States and Nigeria in terms of miles, you would be hard pressed to find a better fighter than Nigerian Amateur National Champion Yusuf Adeniji if you were to look across the ocean in that general direction. Boxing has a way of bringing people together of all cultures, backgrounds and nationalities. This is the true magic of pugilism, as the art itself crosses borders and oceans with a might and strength that is exclusive to boxing alone. Amateur Bantamweight boxer Yusuf Adeniji, 39-1 (7), is a fighter of immense character, applying his boxing craft in Nigeria and obtaining numerous titles during his accomplished career as an amateur boxer. Adeniji won the silver medal for Lagos State, two silver medals in the National Sports Festival, and a silver medal for Lagos in the flyweight division at the National Championships in 2005 to name just a few of his successes. He is a fighter who has his eye on the prize and just needs the opportunity to turn professional and continue on his ever present rise to success and the top of the Bantamweight division. Yusuf knows what it takes to be a determined and accomplished boxer and is ready to take his career to the next level and beyond. Fortunately I was contacted by him recently and he was gracious enough to allow me to do an interview with him which is a Doghouse Boxing exclusive. Pay attention to this charismatic and driven pugilist as you are sure to hear much more about him in the immediate future. The following is what Yusuf Adeniji had to say to me during our interview and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank him for his generosity and kindness during this whole process.
Jason Petock: How long have you been fighting now and where did you get your start in boxing?
Yusuf Adeniji: I have been an amateur boxer for ten years now. I started boxing back in 1999. I won the Lagos State silver medal earlier this year and since then have also won the Bantamweight silver medal as well. I keep training hard and I am going to continue fighting in pursuit of the African Championship and the State Championship. I know that I can win those titles because of my hard work. I lost my father back in 1996, and my mother passed away also in 2007.
JP: What do hope to accomplish as a professional fighter and where do you see yourself as far as the current Bantamweight division is concerned?
YA: Right now I am having money problems to be honest with you, and the loss of both of my parents has made it difficult for me. I train all the time, but outside of boxing I don't have a job. Boxing is my profession and I am fully committed to it and love what I do. Boxing is my career and I pray that God will help me so that I can take my career to greater heights and become a professional fighter. I will rule the world of boxing by his grace. Amen.
JP: How would you describe your style? What are your greatest strengths in the ring? What do you feel you can improve upon?
YA: I am a skillful boxer and I have adept footwork that I use in the ring. I can fight in several different styles and I am versatile, being able to fight both as a southpaw and a conventional fighter. All boxers can learn something during their career so I am always willing to learn as I develop further and get that much better as a boxer every day.
JP: For those out there reading this interview is there anything that they should know about Yusuf Adeniji the fighter, or anything you would like to tell them?
YA: There are a lot of people from various states and regions here in Africa that come from all over to see my fights. They love watching me fight and I welcome and admire their support and blessings. I thank God for my life and my career. I was born in Lagos City on December 11, 1989.
JP: Do you have any favorite fighters that you look up to or have patterned yourself after over the years?
YA: The fighter I love most is Muhammad Ali. He was a brilliant fighter inside of the ring, so skilled, and I feel that I box like him. I do fight in many different styles like I said earlier, but Ali's style is the one that I prefer and like to emulate. Muhammad Ali is a hero to all African people and the entire world and I hope to one day become that special to so many people like he has become.
JP: You have won numerous amateur Championships and medals during your career so far. What do you want to achieve as a professional boxer in the Bantamweight division?
YA: I want to continue to be successful as I have been and fight in the United States as a professional. I have been a fighter for ten years and all I need is a chance to show what I can do to the world. I know that if I can get to the United States and become a professional I will become Champion.
JP: How would you describe the climate of Nigerian boxing to those of us in the United States that are relatively unfamiliar with boxing in that part of the world?
YA: People in this country and all of the states and regions love boxing. I thank God for allowing me to be a boxer and I know that he will continue to bless me. Amen.
JP: Two great Nigerian Champions that are well known here in the U.S. are Hogan “Kid” Bassey (Okon Bassey Asuquo) who won the world Featherweight Championship in 1957, and Dick Tiger (Richard Ihetu) who won a succession of Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Championships during the 1960's. How do feel about continuing alongside the legacies of such great countrymen as you represent Nigeria and its reputation for producing some of the greatest fighters in the world?
YA: I am honored and humbled to be mentioned with such great men. I can only hope that I can come to the United States and fight as a professional and be given the opportunity to continue on and show people another side of greatness that comes from Nigeria.
JP: Thank you for this fascinating and insightful interview, Yusuf. Is there anything else that you would like to include or say at this point to your family, friends, managers, promoters, or anyone else who might be looking at you and where your career is headed?
YA: I want you to help me get to the United States and box. If someone can get me an invitation letter so that I can get my entry visa and follow my dream, then I can fight as a professional and remove my money problems by doing something I love. I want you to link me to some boxing managers, promoters, and gym owners so that they will be able to assist me. Please help me make this dream a reality. I need help with my career and I want to fight as a professional by the grace of God. Amen.
Closing note: I have included Yusuf Adeniji's contact information below in the hope that there is someone out there reading this article who can aid him in his career and get him over here to the United States and fighting soon. When he first contacted me, the subject line of his e-mail said “I choose you as my manager”. I wish I was a boxing manager or promoter because I would do all I could in my power to make this young man's dream an actuality. His heart is boxing and all he needs is the right opportunity with good and honest people who can take him to the next level. I'm doing my part to help with this article, now please, do yours. Thank you.
Name: Yusuf Adeniji
Address: 13 Olumorokon Street
Mushin, Lagos. Nigeria 23401
e-mail Jason at:
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