Bash Alli set to shock the world with First Guinness World Record Boxing Championship In Nigeria.
Bash Ali has the highest National Honor ever given to a Nigerian athlete, Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON.
In this interview with African Development Magazine, World champ Bash Alli speaks about his journey to the boxing world, his campaign against corruption, how he became a champion and an upcoming fight that will shock the world.
Sir, can you please tell us about yourself?
My name is Bashiru Lawrence Alli. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Both of my parents came from Edo State. My dad died when I was 6 years, so I never really got to know him. We were 3 boys and a girl. My sister is the oldest. I had an older brother called Lawal. He died in 1972. I have a younger brother called Aminu who lives in Oakland, California, USA. He is 61 years old and the last born. I went to Laki Lak primary school and later to Birch Freeman high school in Lagos. I was a wrestler as a teenager and was the middle weight Champion in Nigeria while still schooling at Birch Freeman high school.
I was a school big l boy…laughs. I was then known as the strongest Schoolboy in the world. I was 17 years old when I won the title. I wanted to fight then heavyweight Champion of the World, Power Mike but he turned me down that i was too small for him. Looking back now, I guess he was right…laughing.
I got a wrestling scholarship at the age of 17 years to further my wrestling career at the Mildred Burke Professional School of Wrestling in Los Angeles, California, USA. In 1974 at the age of 18, I accepted the scholarship and went to America and like they say, the rest is history.
How did you do in wrestling United States?
Well, I did not do well because I did not wrestle. When I got to America, I found out that these wrestlers are giants. Most of them are over 6 ft tall while some are above 7ft and over 400 lbs in weight while then I was about 5ft 10inch tall and weighed about 170ibs. Compared to these American wrestlers, I was a midget, a dwarf so I had to respect myself and quickly remove wrestling from my mind…Laughs ..l.
So what happened after you removed wrestling from your mind?
I started going to school to further my education. I enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, USA to study Political Science.
How did you get involved in boxing?
It was by accident and not designed. I was looking for a job when I saw a big building with the picture of Mohammed Ali, the former heavyweight Champion of the world, outside the building. I was curious and went inside. Inside were 2 boxing rings with boxers sparring. I forgot about going to look for a job as I stayed to watch the boxers sparring and day dreaming that I can do it and become a boxing champion and make plenty money in my life. While I was watching, i did not know that one of the trainers called Clarence Douglas was looking at me with keen interest. He later came to ask me if I would like to join them and I said yes. He asked me if I have ever boxed before and I lied that I have. He then invited me to bring my training kits and come and join them tomorrow. I was very happy and went home and never again went to look for a job as planned. I went home to get ready for tomorrow for the training.
What happened the next day?
I got to the boxing gym all excited to get inside the ring to show my skill. Trainer Clarence Douglas was happy to see me and after warming up he put me inside the boxing ring to spar with a heavyweight boxer called Bob Woods. We were supposed to spar for 3 rounds. I got inside the ring and make a clown of myself by swinging like a woman and despite being hit with clear shots to the head and body I kept moving forward trying to hit him back without success. In that 3 minutes of sparring, I was dead tired that my trainer asked me to get out of the ring to rest. He told me that if I am a boxer that Nigerians sure don’t know how to fight. I told him the truth that I never boxed before and that I had to lie to him so he could give me.
Did you fight as an amateur?
Never! We trained 6 months and I had my first fight as a Professional boxer. I never boxed as an amateur because I will never fight for trophy but money. And don’t forget that I come from a poor family so it would not make sense for me to fight for trophy. I had my fight professional fight against a big time boxer called Junior Albers in his hone town, Sacraments, California. That was in 1978. I was 22 years old. It was for 6 rounds. I beat him but I was robbed of the decision because that was his territory. It was a daylight robbery but that is boxing for u.
How much did you make for the fight?
It was US400. I will never forget. Meanwhile, before the fight, I thought I was going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars, so you can imagine my disappointment from my pay. Before the fight, I had told my mom that I was doing a big business that would yield money so she should not worry that I will send her money to buy colour TV. The boxer who fought the main event then, Pete Ranzany made US80k and I was wondering if I would ever make that much money in my life….Laughing.
So you never boxed as an amateur?
Yes. Like I said earlier, I am the ONLY Boxer in the world who never fought as an amateur boxer and then went on to become a World Boxing Champion. I am also the ONLY Boxer in the world to win every boxing Cruiser-weight Championship title conceivable: California, United States Boxing Association, North America Boxing Federation, World Boxing Council International (twice) and the current World Boxing Federation Cruiser-weight title. I am a great boxer and the best in the world. This Guinness World Boxing Championship would confirm it.
You have not fought since 2004, and you refer to yourself as world boxing champion?
Sept 9, 2000, I fought then WBF Cruiser-weight Champion, Terry Ray, USA, at the National Stadium, in Lagos. I knocked him out in the 8th round to win the title. I was offered US1.5M to have a return match while a group in Germany offered me US2.1M to fight a German boxer in Germany. I agreed to the German fight but the WBF President stripped me of my title for not agreeing to a return match with Terry Ray because he was his manager through a proxy.
I sued the WBF in Court for wrongfully stripping me off my title. California Superior Court in Oakland, California, USA, found them guilty and restored my title to with a wage loss compensation of US2.1M and damages of US5M. The US2.1M was paid but they appealed the US5M judgement which is now worth over US20M. Now, I have the receivership to the WBF to satisfy the damages. The Court in the Permanent Injunction, stipulated that I can never again b stripped of my title unless I lose it inside the boxing ring. You can see that the injustice done to me in 2000 has turned out to b a great blessing today. I am the ONLY Boxer to have the control of a Boxing Body. I am truly great. Google Bash Ali WBF California Superior Court for additional info.
What is your professional boxing record?
I have the best Boxing Record in the Cruiser-weight division. I have 75W 57KO 12L. I have avenged 6 of my earlier loses.
You have been retired since 2004 so why the come back?
I have never been retired. My last fight was in 2004 when I knocked out the then British Cruiser-weight Champion, Tony Booth in the 4th round. It was after that fight that we started to plan the Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight but CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION delayed it.
What is this Guinness World Record Boxing Championship Fight about?
The GWR Boxing Championship Fight will put me in the GWR Book as the oldest boxer to fight for a world title and to also defend his title. Do not forget that I am still the WBF Cruiser-weight Boxing Champion. Once I step inside that Boxing ring at the young age of 63 years, win, lose or draw, I would have made history as the oldest boxer to fight and defend his title but I want to make positive history as the oldest boxer to successfully defend his title and win another title. I must win and that is my goal. That is my goal. Once I step inside the ring on fight night, I make Boxing History that will never again be broken by any boxer at least not in this life. Maybe in another life
Who is the oldest boxer to win a world boxing title and at what age?
The name is Bernard Hopkins, USA at the age of 49 years 95 days. He was a middleweight. He set the GWR in 2014.
You have had several juicy offers to have this historic fight outside of Nigeria but you insist it must be in Nigeria. Why?
As we are conducting this interview, I can not boast of US1 but I turned down 50M euros and 30 percent of estimated US1.5B in Pay Per View TV Revenue to host the fight in another country but I say NO to the offer because I believe in my country, Nigeria and above all, I want to rewrite Boxing history in my country. George Foreman set the GWR in his country, USA. Muhammad Ali set the GWR in his country, USA, Mike Tyson set the GWR in his country. USA. Bernard Hopkins set the GWR in his country, USA. Joe Bugner, the only boxer to break the GWR jinx from holding in USA, set it in his country, Australia. And when it came to the turn of a Nigerian to rewrite Boxing History in his country, it became an unpardonable crime because of CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION. I want to break the jinx that you can not make it in Nigeria unless u compromise. I must break the jinx.
Is it true that u have been jailed and detained severally in the struggle to host this historic fight in Nigeria?
Hahahaha….yes, it is true. I have been detained 8 times at several police Stations in Abuja and once spent 43 days in Kuje Prison (Feb 9-April 2, 2015) all because I say NO to CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION. I have also been beaten by Police men at the Ministry of Sports and Nexim Bank in Abuja that I had to spend days (Sept 1-9 Sept, 2014) at the National Hospital, Abuja to treat myself.
In Feb 2017, I spent 2 days at the National Hospital in Abuja to treat myself from the beating I received from the Police men attached to then Sports minister, Solomon Dalung. Despite all these beatings, detentions, humiliations and negative reports in several National and International newspapers, topmost the New York Times that I am CAMPAIGNING IN VAIN IN NIGERIA TO HOST A GWR FIGHT, I never gave up on Nigeria. The Corrupt Criminal government officials can detain me, they can beat me but they can never deport me because I am a Nigerian.
What is the benefit of this fight to Nigeria?
A GWR Fight has never held on the soil of Africa so this would be the ‘FIRST’ and the most lucrative Boxing event in the history of Pay Per View Television. As we are throwing punches in Nigeria, it will b shown LIVE on PPV TV in 132 countries and will b watched by an estimated audience of between 15M-20M people at the rate of US100 per viewer for a US1.5M minimum PPVTV Revenue.
And the most important reason is that should the fight go the 12 rounds distance, I will get a fair decision because out of the 3 judges, there will b a Nigerian, American and a neutral judge but if it holds outside and it goes the 12 rounds distance, I will be robbed of the decision because they will not want a Nigerian to occupy that special place in the GWR as the OLDEST BOXER to win and successful defend a world title. It is called BOXING POLITICS. I want to win in Nigeria and I also want my country to get all the benefits that come with a GWR fight.
Take us through your 13 years struggle to host this historic fight in Nigeria?
It started on Nov 9 , 2006 when Fmr. President Obasanjo through the National Sorts commission inaugurated the Bash Ali Boxing Project Local Organizing Committee to organize in Nigeria in a TRANSPARENT manner the first GWR Fight to hold on the soil of Africa. The corrupt government officials wanted money for themselves instead of Nigeria and my saying was ‘NO’ to them made them put the fight aside. I was told that the only way for the fight to hold is for me to agree to share government money with me and I say NO.
On Jan 7, 2014, Fmr President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan again inaugurated another Bash Ali Boxing Project LOC and the same CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION took over and as usual I say NO.
On May 29, 2015, PMB became the President and I wrote a detailed letter to him about the unnecessary struggle I have been through in my quest to bring honor, glory and financial growth to Nigeria through Sports and in less than a week after receiving the letter, PMB again approved the hosting in Nigeria. I met with the then Minister Solomon Dalung and again CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION took over. I fought him for almost 3 years to call for a meeting with the LOC members but he refused unless I submit to his demands. I took my fight to Vice President Osinhajo before Solomon Dalung finally on May 21, 2019 called for a meeting and inauguration of the LOC. And to rub salt on injury, he made himself the Chairman of the LOC…laughing!
Who is your opponent for this gwr fight?
There are 15 possible opponents and once everything is together, we shall sign an opponent and make it public. We have signed many opponents in the past and nothing positive happened because of CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION so this time, we want to make sure that all things are in place before we sign an opponent.
.Is it true that the FG is financing this historic event?
Capital NO! It is being financed by the private sector inaugurated by the FG. The FG has put together a Solid Group to host this historic event and right now, I am 100 percent confident that this time around CORRUPTION and BAD ADMINISTRATION will b KNOCKED OUT.
What is your message for the new sports minister?
He or she should put Nigeria FIRST and always remember that Sport is one of the biggest industry in the world and that if well organized in Nigeria, would earn big money for the country.
When is the fight date?
The proposed date is Nov 30, 2019.
As we conclude, what would you like to say to your numerous fans and boxers who would like to be like you?
First, I want to say NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM and NEVER GIVE UP ON NIGERIA. Secondly, i thank all my fans for their unlimited support for me and the love for our Boxing Project. I have always said it that we are going to SHOCK the world by rewriting Boxing History and make all our CRITICS our DISCIPLES. And for the boxers who want to b like me, I am flattered. I want them to put education first, train very hard, b disciplined and every other thing will fall into pleasant places. We are going to SHOCK the world and I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
Where is the fight venure?
The venue will b determined by the State that bids the highest. The opening bid is US1M. This is big business so let us milk it to the bone…Laughing..