Cletus Okegbe, the National Kick-boxing Coach, on Wednesday assured that professional kick-boxers would soon emerge in Nigeria, as the amateur ones would soon graduate into real professionals.
Okegbe told newsmen in Lagos that many amateur kick-boxers would soon complete their mandatory participation in three National Sports Festivals, before being exempted from subsequent ones.
“After the completion of their three mandatory participations, the kick-boxers will be ripe enough to become full professionals.
“This is because the fighters will have gained enough experience from the festivals and the time will be ripe for them to take up the sport professionally.
“By going professional, they will be able to trade overseas and carve a name for themselves,” he said.
According to him, kick-boxers started featuring in the National Sports Festivals in 2008 in Kaduna, tagged; “Kada 2008”.
“Although, Kada 2008 was non-scoring in Kick-boxing, Kick-boxers have been competing at subsequent festivals which have given them the opportunity to adequately understand the rules governing the sport.
“So by the next national sports festival in Calabar in 2014, they will be fully ready to become professional fighters and make a name for themselves,” he said.
Okegbe said that kick-boxing was like boxing because the game had a professional fighting angle to it, where athletes could actually fight for money and make a living.
He said that he foresaw a bright future for the sport because the country was blessed with an abundance of skillful and strong fighters.
The coach, however, bemoaned the continuous dearth of competitions due to lack of sponsorships and training facilities and equipment, saying they were hindering against the development of the sport.