‘NMMA ready for Djarkata 2024 World Championship’

Beauty Akatiku of Nasarawa, who beat Zubair Fatimoh, also from Nasarawa State, in the -56Kg at the maiden Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) National Amateur Championship for fighters from North-West and Central zones of the country, believes the country is ready to excel at the MMA World Championship slated for Jakarta, Indonesia in December.

The zonal championship was held at the Continental Hotel, Abuja, where the best MMA athletes battled for places in the grand finale, which would be used to select Nigeria’s team to Indonesia.

Speaking after the event, Akatiku said the quality of talents on display at the zonal championship shows that Nigeria has the potential to rule the world in mixed martial arts.

“The next stop is the national championship and I believe whoever qualifies for the World Championship will do Nigeria proud in Indonesia. I hope to be among them,” she said.

In other bouts at the championship, Felix Stephanie of Plateau State defeated Yusrallah Abdulraheem of Kaduna in the women’s 65kg, while Tarkpe Stephen of Benue ousted Uthman Ahmed of Kwara in the men’s 60kg category, just as Aliyu Taofeeq of Kogi outscored Abdulazeez Abdulrahman of Abuja in the -77kg class.

The one-day event featured MMA fighters from Kwara, Kogi, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, and FCT Abuja.

Initiated by sports enthusiast, philanthropist, and Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, 14 years ago, Boxing and MMA Hall of Fame has been instrumental in the training and nurturing of top-level boxers in Nigeria.

The organisers said the tournament is aimed at discovering national champions by the end of this year through a series of championships in different parts of Nigeria. The country’s champions, they said, would be supported to represent the nation in various international championships.

They disclosed that two African Games gold medalists, Ifeanyi Onyekwere and Blessing Oraekwe, would be sponsored by Boxing and MMA Hall of Fame to attend the second and final Paris Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand to have more boxers representing Nigeria at the Olympics this year.

They said that the two boxers would also be camped at the Boxing and MMA Hall of Fame gym in Lagos ahead of the qualifiers this month.

Among dignitaries at the event were former Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, and some ranking lawmakers.

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