Boxing has existed as a sport in North Africa since 4000 BC. Back then, it was known as pugilism — which means sweet science.
In the years that followed, the fight sport in which two men wearing tights and protective gloves throw punches at each other in a ring would go on to be one of the most popular sports and a people favorite in major European countries and America.
Many Nigerians have distinguished themselves with the highest honor in this sport including the likes of; Bash Ali, Dick Tiger, and the present unified world heavyweight champion, Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua, who is arguably the greatest Nigerian boxer of all time.
Today, we’ll be looking at the very first man to bring a world heavyweight title home to Nigeria.
Samuel Okon Peter
Samuel Peter, 38, will forever be remembered as the Nigerian professional boxer who brought the WBC heavyweight title home in 2008.
His rise to boxing greatness came quite early in his career following a series of knockout wins, which positioned him rightly for a shot at the WBC title in a time when the heavyweight titles in the division were largely fragmented.
Peter was a mandatory challenger for the WBC belt held by Oleg Maskaev, and the long-anticipated fight took place on March 8, 2008, at the principal bullfighting venue in Cancúm, Mexico.
Peter proved the stronger man in a very thrilling six-round fight that saw both men exchange heavy jabs for extended periods. Maskaev, however, did not land any crucial punch on Peter, who did quite a number on the Russian.
The referee stepped in with seconds remaining in the sixth round, to save a badly beaten Maskaev and hand Peter an unanimous victory, and the WBC heavyweight title.