Elizabeth Oshoba: Nigeria’s First Female Boxing World Champion

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In a modest gym on Ewekoro Road, Ilogbo, the story of Elizabeth Oshoba, Nigeria’s trailblazing female boxing world champion, began. Born on December 23, 1999, in Agbado, Lagos State, Oshoba’s journey to greatness is a testament to resilience and determination. From her early education in Lagos to obtaining her Senior Secondary School Certificate at Ilogbo-Asowo Community High School, her path to boxing supremacy was unconventional and challenging.

Oshoba’s defining moment came in January 2023 when she defeated Italian Michela Braga in Copenhagen to win the World Boxing Council silver featherweight title. Her dominant performance, reflected in the judges’ scores, was a culmination of years of rigorous training and unyielding support from her family and coach. “If I sent her to her seniors for sparring, she never declined,” recalled her coach, Semiu Lateef. “She always did her best, and that’s when I decided to put extra focus on this girl.”

The initial reluctance of Oshoba’s parents turned into unwavering support, fostering her development in the sport. Her father, Yakubu Oshoba, reminisced about the first day he took her to the gym under a ruse. “I told her we were going to get some fuel, but instead, I took her to the boxing gym,” he said. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of Oshoba’s commitment to boxing, despite her initial fears and the tough early training sessions.

The road to success was anything but smooth. Oshoba often trekked long distances to and from the gym after school, driven by an unyielding spirit. “Rain or shine, Elizabeth would walk from school with her bag held over her head after school,” said her childhood friend and sparring partner Ibrahim Opeyemi. These early hardships, combined with her rigorous training regimen, prepared her for the challenges ahead.

Oshoba’s rise through the ranks included victories at the National Sports Festival and the African Games, where she won gold and bronze medals, respectively. Her dedication caught the attention of international managers, leading to her professional debut in the UK in 2022. Her victory over Michela Braga not only secured her a world title but also cemented her status as a pioneer for Nigerian female boxers.

Reflecting on her journey, Oshoba remains focused on future goals. “I feel on top of the world. This title is my first world title, but I am still focused and can’t wait for more world title fights,” she said. Her story, marked by humble beginnings and unwavering determination, continues to inspire many in Nigeria and beyond. As the interim president of the Nigeria Boxing Federation, Azania Omo-Agege, aptly put it, “She is one of our best athletes in Nigeria, and I wish her good luck for the future.”

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