The Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame in Nigeria has hosted its first MMA tournament, the GAMMA Nigeria Open National Championships, under its new name the Boxing and MMA Hall of Fame (HOF) as part of the build-up for Nigerian athletes ahead of the 13th African Games taking place in Accra, Ghana next month.

The event, which was staged alongside the regular monthly boxing tournament on Sunday 18 February, brought together 60 athletes from across the country as they attempted to qualify for the national team for the prestigious Continental Games.

The founder of the LBHF and Minister of Finance for the country, Wale Edun described the rebrand event as a revolution. “This is another Boxing Hall of Fame occasion, it’s an evolution because now, we not only have boxing, but we also now have mixed martial arts and it’s just a sign of the times. Things are developing for us, what matters is that young Nigerians are given the opportunity to train, to be safe, to be secure and to develop their skills and talent.”

GAMMA Nigeria President, Valentine Moral expressed optimism in the future potential. “This is a very big opportunity for MMA in Nigeria and the entire continent. This is the first time we are having it at the African Games, it’s a big bonus and we are going to Ghana not just to demonstrate, we are going there to top the medals table,”.

The MMA competition at the African Games will take place from 10 to 12 March.