By James Agberebi:
Nigerian boxing great and former champion Obisia Nwakpa and current Nigeria national boxing coach Tony Konyegwachi have expressed sadness following the death of boxing great, Muhammad Ali.
A former three-time heavyweight champion, Ali, 74, died at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday after being admittedon Thursday.
He was suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.
Reacting to his death, Obisia revealed to Completesportsnigeria.com, how Ali influenced him to become a boxer.
"He was my hero and I so much appreciate him," Obisia told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"He was one of those who made me to become highly interested in boxing. And through him I discovered his skill, most of the skills he used I was able to use them at my own level."
The former national boxing coach recollect his first encounter with Ali.
"He was a wonderful guy and I will want Nigeria recognise him because he was a man who recognised Nigeria. He came to Nigeria twice. In 1966, I was one of the youths who welcomed him," Obisia explained.
"He was one of those who took boxing to the science level. And like I said, he made a lot of people become interested in boxing. So I can only remember wonderful things about him."
On his part, Konyegwachi told Completesportsnigeria.com that his memories of Ali were his legendary fights with George Foreman and Joe Fraiser.
"Our great legendary boxer finally give way. May his gentle soul rest in peace," Konyegwachi, an Olympian like Ali, told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"I will always remember him for his great fight with George Foreman and Joe Fraizer. So he was a wonderful boxer all round."
Seoul 1988 Olympics boxer Konyegwachi said that Ali made boxing what it is presently, positing that it will be difficult to get his kind again.
"He brought glamour into boxing. All boxing is enjoying today is all from Ali," he added.
"It will be difficult to get another Ali because he was different. From round one to round 15 he boxed like a baby, like a lightweight, bringing entertainment. He was a wonderful boxer."