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Ministry of Sports distances self from Bash Ali’s world record fight

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The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has denied given approval to former boxing champion, Bash Ali to stage a “World Guinness Book of Record” fight in Nigeria.

Kola Daniel, Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of Youth and Sports Development, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the Legal Department of the ministry had written to the boxer warning him to desist from peddling false claims about a non-existent approval from the office of the minister for the fight.

Daniel reiterated that no such approval was granted by President Muhammadu Buhari contrary to claims by the boxer that the approval was conveyed to him by the office of the minister.

He therefore asked the boxer to keep to the facts and follow due process in his plans to stage the fight.

D.A. Muhammad, Director, Legal Services in the ministry also denied the boxer’s claim.

Muhammad said in a letter dated Jan.7, 2020 that no approval has been granted by either the ministry or the presidency for the fight.

“It is to be recalled that on Nov.4, 2019 a meeting was held between the ministry and yourself in the company of Director, Legal Department and other senior staff of the ministry, wherein the ministry was categorical about not entering into any meaningful discussion with you in relation to the Guinness Record Fight until the litigation between you and the ministry is amicably sorted out.

“It is in this regard the ministry is surprised to note your manipulation of information to the effect that approval has been granted you to carry out the World Guinness Record Fight.

“I am accordingly therefore, by this letter, directed to convey that no approval whatsoever was granted you by Mr President or the Ministry, and it will be in your overall interest to issue another letter stating the factual situation that took place between the office of the Minister and your good self on the said date in order for us to make further progress on the said matter,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bash Ali in 1985 made history as the first World Boxing Federation (WBF) cruiser-weight boxing champion from Africa.

The 63-year-old former boxing champion is seeking to enter the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest boxer to win a world title.

The former boxer who has not competed professionally for more than a decade is seeking to take on a yet-to- be identified American boxer in a bid to clinch the world record.

The proposed fight has, however, been fraught with lots of controversies.