Femi Kuti David who is a professional boxer, boxing instructor, life coach, body fitness, bouncer, and kickboxer on Friday in an interview with National Sportslink said as a professional boxer in Nigeria you are not an automatic streets tout or hooligans.
Femi Kuti David narrated his ordeal as once a professional boxer in Nigeria. Here are the details of his career transition.
As A Professional Boxing Instructor, How Many Boxers Have You Coached Over The Years?
I have coached like four to five and that was when I was under my senior coach. I train them alongside my senior coach but when I got a place at the stadium I can manage, I start my own coaching center and since I have started the center I have coach a number both children and adults.
Presently, I have about three to four people that I have coached that are in the Nigerian Army (NA) which they joined through the recruiting process. They explained to me that they did a trial of self-defense by fighting and at the end of the day they won and they are successfully recruited into the Nigerian Army.
Apart from this, I have a lot of people I am coaching which are mostly children and they are really coming up as a good fighter.
What Are The Pros And Cons To Being A Boxing Coach Or A Boxer?
ToutHonestly, I have confidence everywhere I find myself or anywhere I am going and I believe one day it will surely come to pass to be successful in the boxing industry because what I know is that boxing is not about tout, it is not about hooligans but it is about what you want for your future, you need to figure it out.
When I notice the way Nigeria government is treating professional boxer, they are not well brought up, when you see professional boxers who have box for a while, they end up becoming a tout, sitting at the tarmac to get money from people which I don’t want that kind of life that is why I decided to be an instructor and I am very happy about my decision because as an instructor of boxing and fitness. I am happy with what I do on a daily basis.
I have a lot of people that have registered under me for four years now and they know how they came and how they are at the moment in terms of shedding out pounds, all thanks to God. Also, I am really happy with the backing I am getting from people. Where I am today it is not by me alone but with the support of some special people in my life who appreciate what I am doing and ready to add their quota to it.
However, I have encountered a lot of challenges when I started training as a professional boxer, many people keep saying I will end up on the street as a tout because they don’t believe that anybody brought up in Mushin area in Lagos State will not go into boxing and not end up as a tout or government instruments of violent and political strategy.
But since I started my boxing career up to when I gave up the career to focus on fitness and bouncer I have never try it. Although a lot of people came to meet me to tell me we should have our own tarmac and be getting money from bus drivers and conductors, telling me that because I know how to fight boxing and also know how to carry weight it will be so easy to achieve, that what I need to do is to just sit down as their leader and control the atmosphere.
But I said NO! I can’t do that kind of thing. What I map out that I want in life is to be showcasing the glory of God in me and letting my children see the good benefits of training as a professional boxer not them saying that their daddy is a street touts.
Apart from being a boxer, I am also a bodybuilder, I have to build my body to the point that I work in a club as a bouncer and many people have the notion that while I mount the gate that fight or any violence act will happen but I let them understand I don’t fight but if they really want me to fight they will need to go through the right channel where they will need to collect the real movement to fight me on the ring, then they will see what I can do.
In the club, we are employed to settle the dispute, calm the situation or fight about to erupt not to box anybody. During times like this, I do calm myself down because I don’t drink nor smoke to the extent that I will be misbehaving and abusing my power.
Have You For Once Fought In A Boxing Ring To Win A Competition?
In 2010 I fight for kickboxing called FIJABI 2010 and I won a bronze. But what made me quit boxing permanently is after I won the bronze for my local government, they ask me to submit the bronze to the local government and I ask why will I submit the bronze? I said this is my career, I can’t submit it. So I ask further that if they want me to drop the bronze what will be the compensation for fighting and bringing home the bronze, they said they will pay me 10,000 Naira for my effort. I was so amazed, 10,000 Naira for what?
Although, aside from boxing I am also into screen printing (Arts and Signs) which is my handwork. So I was trying to explain to them that do you think I don’t have a job and just base my survival on this boxing profession? Which at the end of the day you will use people anyhow. The man said NO, that that is the standard amount they can offer.
For more than a week we are in the camp training, I left my job and my family without being fed with good food and now you are telling me you are going to pay me a sum of 10,000 Naira. After much deliberation, I called the chairman of the local government that I will never leave the bronze and I am not going to any competition with them anymore, I collected my certificate and bronze and I left.
Professional Boxers Are Not Hooligans Or Tout
Also when I fight as a professional Konfu in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999, I still have the certificate with me, no one ever pays us a dime even transportation fees to where we are going to fight, we do sponsor ourselves to the camp where the competition will take place.
I went to Anambra State for a konfu competition and I collected bronze, but I was the one who pay my transport fare to the state and sponsored myself for two to three weeks I spent while in the camp.
Apart from the hazard associated with the work, all the aforementioned are what prompt my decision to stop it, once I have collected black belt in konfu, I have nothing to do again then I now go into boxing. So as a boxer I fight the FIYABI 2010 competition and one in 2008 which I also won bronze and the competition is about Lagos State. But I kept all of it as my career portfolio because I was not willing to submit it.
So when I see the way the situation of Nigeria is going, I made up my mind that I am not going for any competition again that why I choose another career part similar to what I do, I start training people in kickboxing, boxing, fitness, life coach, etc.
Aside from Boxing, What Else Do You Do?
Aside from being a boxer, I am a bouncer, I am into screen printing, I have bouncer under my name, and I am a sports instructor most especially for schools during sporting activities on Wednesdays. I also work in a gym at Segosh Hotel & Suite; I operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays both morning and evening.
Do You Have A Company To Your Name?
Yes! The name of my company is JackFit Services and that is what is on my business cards and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), I registered it under CAC in Lagos State. I have a YouTube channel which is Jackfit.com.ng. If someone wants to contact us for training, watch training, fitness or check how our bouncer handles events or book for bouncers, surely you will always get it there.
You Mentioned Earlier That Your Daughter Is A Boxer, How Come?
Yes, my daughter is a six-year-old boxer and this is how it started, as I said earlier I am a boxing instructor who trains lots of children and adult. This particular day I was outside the house training other children, she came outside and said daddy I want to train, and I said are you sure you want to do this, she said yes.
I told her they are going to blow your mouth, blood will come out and your teeth will remove, your eyes will even swell up, she said yes daddy, I know if these children are doing it, I can do it too. I called her name and said are you sure you can do this, she nodded in the affirmative and said yes. I was surprised and I said wow! Okay if you say you can do it, let start.
Before I could call Jack Robbins, I have seen her picking the moves, so I decided to try her with a 5-year-old boy of her weight to fight, during the course of the fight I saw her movement, and she has the knowledge and the power to do it so I continue to train her. After that day, anyone who brings their children for training or to register them for training, I do bring my daughter out and I say if my baby which is 6years can do it, your baby too can do it. Even people that are not up to her age have started wearing a glove to fight.
These present generation children are vast in knowledge. I didn’t force her to have interest initially that why I do everything to support her. But if I was a hooligan, they will also be watching my footsteps.
She has had the opportunity three to four times to fight but she doesn’t get to see someone in her category in terms of weight size. The principle is this if my baby is weighing 17kg and another baby weighting 18/19kg can fight together. But if a baby is weighting 25k and my baby is weighing 17kg they can’t fight together because their kg is too high.
In fact, I won’t lie to you, it is because of the children that I am training that made me put boxing in my business or else I wouldn’t have included it at all, I focus more on fitness and exercise.
Have You Or Your Wife At Any Point Discouraged Her From This Line?
My wife really understands more than I do, my wife is not even into sport but she is always happy that she is training. She goes as far as reminding her to get ready by picking the cloth she will be taking to training the next day. She will say it is better you get everything done before tomorrow morning that your daddy will be in a hurry to go for training.
My wife has never discouraged her unless she will even support her and sometimes when she comes back home and tell her mum that her mouth has been caught, the next thing her mum will tell her is “No pain no gain” if you tell my daughter no pain, she will respond by saying no gain. My wife and I have not any point discourage her from going into boxing as a career.
Has She Been Attending Competitions?
There is no competition yet for children in Nigeria, but since last year to this year, they have been noticing that children are much more than adults when it comes to boxing and I think they are seriously looking into it. Personally I have been making an arrangement, like last year we held a competition but some people are angry because my daughter did not fight.
They said they want to see her fight but unfortunately, they did not see any girl that is of her age and weight to fight her. Startime was even at the boxing section.
What Is Your Connection To Israel Adesanya?
Israel Adesanya was once in Nigeria before he traveled out of the country, but when he came back to Nigeria, I didn’t recognize him at the stadium in Surulere, I was just busy training my daughter when he approached me and told me that he knows my face somewhere which I also told him that I have been looking at his face too, it looks familiar but I can’t really place the face or remember where I know the face?
So Israel Adesanya asked me when I start training as a boxer, I told him the year and he asks further have I ever fight for kickboxing in 2010, I said yes and we keep talking, we exchange contacts and Facebook ID and since then we have been chatting. He even advises me to leave Nigeria and travel out of the country but I made him understand that it is not easy to get help from people.
Your Advice To Boxers And Those Aspiring To Be One?
Whatever you know you are doing, keep doing it and do it well but put one thing in mind, who you want to be tomorrow, where you are going in the future especially in Nigeria as a boxer. First and foremost, you need to have handwork because you don’t know what tomorrow holds. But today make sure you are doing something aside boxing face your work and continue your training.
As an instructor keeps at it, you don’t know who will see it and appreciate it and in no time your name will spread across the country and people will be calling you to do business with you. Whatever you are doing as I said the other time, do it will all diligence.
For the children, while training them I do let them understand that they need to focus in school and learn handwork as a source of back up for them.