By Owoidoho Udofia
Akwa Ibom state today emerged winner of the first Akwa-Cross Boxing Championship after taking eight of the ten competitive bouts in different categories inside the Uyo Township stadium.
This year’s National Youth Games gold medallist, Ezekiel Etukeren and Caroline Linus, silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic African qualifiers, led the Akwa Ibom assault against their hurriedly assembled and ill-prepared Cross River state compatriots.
The Cross River contingent showed a lot of talent but struggled physically overall and were overwhelmed convincingly by their opponents.
Caroline took out Abasiama Moses in a keenly contested Fly Weight 48kg category that only lasted longer to expose the unfit Abasiama whose talent and tactical moves kept the much superior Caroline at bay.
Ezekiel Etukeren defied body size in the FLY Weight category to pummel Samuel Usen much to the chagrin of his coach who threw in the white towel to save his ward from further annihilation.
In the Light Weight 64kg, Ubi Uket of Cross River could not sustain his bright start as Oron-born Lawrence Esin,2002 National silver medallist experience overwhelmed Ubi’s swiftness and youthfulness in the last round.
Powerful Tari George of Akwa Ibom faced a skillful but unfit Abua Christopher in the Fly Weight 52kg.
The Cross Riverian employed unconventional tactics to extend the bout and could have nicked the contest had the judges been aided by technology.
Organiser of the championship, Mr. Itoro promised a bigger and expanded championship in subsequent editions.
An elated Itoro who bankrolled the event said he was overwhelmed by the turn out and called on others to assist sports development.
He promised to sustain it by attracting sponsorship.
Akwa Ibom State Director of Sports, Aniedi Dickson, expressed deep satisfaction with the level of commitment shown by a true son of the soil.
He enjoined individuals to pick a sports and do same in order to complement the effort of the state government.
He vowed to provide technical assistance through the Ministry of sports to any initiative.
Some of the competitors praised the effort of the organiser and called for collective effort.
Jecinta Unnankwe said she has been competition rusty for five years.
Coach of Cross River state, Mr. Bassey attributed the low performance to his wards to lack Of fitness.
He promised to bounce back having learnt so much from the championship.