Elizabeth Oshoba: Nigeria’s Boxing Phenom

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The story of Elizabeth Oshoba’s meteoric rise to becoming the International Boxing Organisation female super-featherweight and World Boxing Council silver featherweight champion is one of the most inspiring tales in the Nigerian sports sector. Her journey, filled with challenges and triumphs, epitomizes determination, and the spirit of a true champion.

In an interview with The Punch’s Peter Akinbo, Elizabeth chronicles her journey from Tigbo-Ilu to Global Glory.

A Humble Beginning

Born on December 23, 1999, in Agbado, Lagos State, Elizabeth Oshoba moved with her family to Tigbo-Ilu, a small community in Ogun State. It was here, amidst modest surroundings, that her boxing journey began. Encouraged by her older brother Raphael, Oshoba stepped into the world of boxing at the age of 12, despite initial reluctance and fear of the sport.

Early Challenges and Family Support

Oshoba’s early days in boxing were far from glamorous. Her first experiences at the Smart Boxing Gym on Ewekoro Road, guided by coach Semiu Lateef, were marked by hard training and initial defeats. However, her resilience and determination soon shone through. Supported by her family, especially her parents who initially laughed off the idea, Oshoba began to take her training seriously. Her father’s trick to get her to the gym, reminiscent of a biblical story, marked the true beginning of her boxing career.

Training and Early Successes

Training under the watchful eye of Coach Lateef, Oshoba’s talent became evident. Lateef recalls her bravery and confidence, even when sparring with seniors. Despite the financial constraints, Oshoba’s family contributed what they could to support her training. Her dedication was unwavering; she often walked long distances to the gym and school, rain or shine.

National and International Recognition

Oshoba’s hard work paid off when she represented Rivers State at the National Sports Festival in 2018, winning her first gold medal. She continued to excel, winning medals at various national and international competitions, including the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco, and the National Boxing Championships.

In January 2023, Oshoba made history by defeating Italian Michela Braga to win the World Boxing Council silver featherweight title. This victory not only solidified her position as a world-class boxer but also made her Nigeria’s first female boxing world titleholder.

Challenges and Triumphs

Oshoba’s journey has not been without its setbacks. Just before the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, she faced a major challenge when a positive COVID-19 test nearly prevented her from competing. Her perseverance, bolstered by her family’s support and prayers, saw her through this difficult time, and she eventually secured a silver medal at the Games.

Professional Aspirations

Elizabeth Oshoba’s transition to professional boxing was a significant milestone. Her talent caught the eye of UK-based businessman Sean Murray, leading to her signing with Neilson Boxing. Her professional debut in Nigeria was impressive, winning both fights by knockout before heading to the UK to further her career.

Looking Ahead

Elizabeth Oshoba’s story is far from over. Her journey from a hesitant 12-year-old to a world champion boxer is a proof of her extraordinary spirit and determination. As she continues to rise in the ranks of professional boxing, her story is an inspiration to many young athletes, especially young women especially women, in Nigeria and beyond.

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