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Deontay Wilder talks tough after brooding buildup to Tyson Fury fight

Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder talks tough after brooding buildup to Tyson Fury fight

I see me beating him up and then knocking him out,” Deontay Wilder said in his Alabama drawl soon after he arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening and looked ahead to his third world heavyweight title fight against Tyson Fury on Saturday night. It was a reminder that we are back in fight week in the dangerous and unpredictable business of heavyweight boxing.

The damaged kings of this division can say terrible things – as Wilder proved in March 2018 when he said: “I want a body on my record.” He tried to qualify his statement by saying that, because he was prepared to die in the ring, he was also willing to take an opponent’s life. Wilder is not a bad man. He has his own demons. He also understands boxing’s darkest truth. Many boxers are willing to risk being carried away in a box in pursuit of their dreams.

In December 2018 Fury and Wilder drew their first encounter in Los Angeles. It was the best world heavyweight title fight in years. Fury, having had just two warm-up bouts after his long break from the ring for mental health reasons, produced an incredible performance as he outboxed Wilder. But in the 11th round he was dropped for the second time in the fight. It was such a brutal knockdown that Fury was briefly unconscious as he lay stretched out on his back. He somehow dragged himself off the canvas and was firing punches at an incredulous Wilder before the end of the round. The controversial draw, with most experts and fans believing Fury had been a clear winner, set up the Vegas rematch.

All the odds seemed to favour Wilder after the American won his next two fights with chilling knockouts. He was called the most destructive puncher in the history of heavyweight boxing. As he walked to the ring in February 2020 Wilder wore a Black History Month metal mask and costume that weighed 40lb. He looked frazzled when he stepped out of his clanking paraphernalia. The American never recovered. From the opening bell Fury beat Wilder up with methodical, dazzling precision. He dropped Wilder in the third and the fifth rounds before the referee brought the contest to a merciful end in the seventh. The stoppage was instigated by Wilder’s assistant trainer Mark Breland, a former fighter, who knew the damage was too severe to continue.

Wilder protested: “I am upset with Mark for the simple fact that we’ve talked about this many times … I want to go out on my shield. If I’m talking about going in and killing a man, I respect the fact that the same can happen to me. I am ready to die in the ring and be carried away in a box.”

Breland has since been fired and replaced by Malik Scott, another former fighter whom Wilder stopped in the first round in 2014. It might seem a strange move to have appointed one of his vanquished opponents, and a man with limited experience as a trainer, but Wilder is emphatic that Scott has improved his often raw skills. He can never hope to outbox Fury – his best hope is that one of his explosive punches finally knocks out his nemesis.

Wilder has been a brooding presence in the long buildup to this fight, which was pushed back three months after Fury caught Covid for a second time in early July. He refused to say anything at the first press conference and, in his silence, Wilder seemed to tap into his personal definition of himself as a fighter. Wilder comes from Tuscaloosa – home of the usually dominant University of Alabama college football team. They are led by Nick Saban, the great college coach, who posts regular messages of support to Wilder. The mantra from Tuscaloosa and the Crimson Tide, as the multiple championship-winning college team is called, is that defeat is only ever a temporary setback. Wilder echoes these sentiments as he describes himself as a quintessentially defiant fighter from the South.

As the third fight has neared he has begun to talk more outrageously again. Wilder has accused Fury of using “loaded gloves”. This is just pre-fight hoopla rather than a serious proposition.

Wilder is the father of eight children in Alabama and his personal story remains riveting. He turned to the ring late and only after he had fallen into a deep depression. In 2005, at the age of 20, Wilder’s one-year-old daughter was in acute pain from spina bifida. The trauma of his little girl’s condition and the accompanying financial burden wore him down.

Before the second Fury fight he said: “In 2005 it became very rocky for me to the point where I lost my family and I had a gun in my lap. I was ready to commit suicide. But boxing led me out of that wilderness. It is a dark and heavy business but boxing is also a place of dreams and hope. It saved me. I put the gun away for good. And here I am today … heavyweight champion of the world.”

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Last year he was stripped of that title in comprehensive and humiliating fashion by Fury. The challenge for Wilder now will be to convince himself that he can really beat a man who got up from some of the biggest punches he has ever thrown in the first bout and then totally dominated him in the rematch. But Wilder cannot be underestimated. He has lost just once in 44 fights and overcome much adversity outside the ring.

Wilder has also said, more calmly of his defeat by Fury, “It is a blessing in disguise what happened. It changed me in so many different ways. My words are not even enough to explain and describe it. You will see on October 9. Only then will everyone understand what I mean.”

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NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40, 042 litres of illicit drugs seized in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, on Tuesday 16th April 2024 destroyed a total of 304,436kg kilograms and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

Speaking at a brief ceremony where the seized drugs were publicly destroyed in Badagry Lagos, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs followed court orders, even as he called for more public support for ongoing efforts by NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court”, the NDLEA boss stated adding that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types, “which include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.”

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the Agency in Lagos and Ogun states from January 2022 till date especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs. The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld.”

He expressed appreciation to traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs as well as other stakeholders who witnessed the ceremony.

“The destruction of these seizures complies with the NDLEA Act, which mandates the Agency to destroy all drug exhibits after prosecution. We want to say that your presence here is a testament to this important occasion. To this end, we appreciate all stakeholders and members of the public for witnessing this exercise”, he added.

He seized the opportunity to acknowledge the support of the Agency’s local and international partners, “especially the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA); United Kingdom NCA, Border Force; the Germans, the French; Indian NCB, among others who had worked with us on a number of busts. Similarly, we appreciate the Nigerian military and other law enforcement agencies such as the Customs; Immigration; Police; Civil Defence; FRSC; NFIU,NAFDAC and others that have been supporting our efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.”
While assuring that NDLEA will not relent in its effort to end the drug scourge in the country, Marwa called for more public support for the activities of the Agency. “The safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us. Every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency’s War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign to clean up our communities and cities. Together, we can make this country secure”, he added.

Lagos state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr. Olusegun Onilude expressed satisfaction with the efforts of NDLEA to tackle the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos state government appreciates NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried”, he stated.

He also thanked the Agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across Lagos State. “No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the Agency and its leadership”, he assured.

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NSA receives 22 abducted students, staff of Zamfara varsity

The National Security Adviser, NSA, Nuhu Ribadu, on Monday, April 15, 2024, received 22 abducted students and staff of Federal University, Gusau in Zamfara, who were rescued after 207 days in captivity.

The victims, comprising 15 students and seven workers of the university, were abducted from the university in September 2023.

According to the NSA, the rescue operation was coordinated by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, NCTC, on Sunday

Mr Ribadu who received the rescued victims on Monday in Abuja, urged them not to allow their experience to break them, but should rather make them stronger.

The NSA also thanked the parents of the rescued victims for their patience and understanding during the period and commended security agencies for their tireless work and sacrifices.

“On behalf of the President, I thank all those involved in the successful rescue of the victims without losing anyone of them or paying any ransom,” he said.

“This is yet again a success story in our efforts to free all those being unlawfully held in captivity.

“We have so far released over a thousand of such victims without noise and with complete respect to their privacy and safety.

“This occasion marks a final juncture in a series of rescues we have undertaken in the last few months, to free victims of recent cases of mass abductions.

“Going forward, we are strengthening law enforcement and security measures to prevent these abductions, and strengthen physical security across vulnerable communities,” he said.

Earlier, the National Coordinator, NCTC, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka recalled that those rescued were abducted from the school on Sept. 22, 2023, at about 0230hrs

Mr Laka said bandits armed with various weapons attacked three off-campus students’ hostels at Sabon Gida in Gusau and kidnapped a number of female students alongside some male artisans

Others, he said, were a private security guard and a protocol officer of the university.

He added that the bandits ransacked the hostels, and carted away foodstuffs, mobile phones, laptops, ATM cards, cash and other valuables.

According to him, the abductees were subsequently herded on motorcycles and foot to a location through a town in the Tsafe local government area of Zamfara.

“Search and rescue was conducted by a combined team of law enforcement agencies and the abductees were subsequently released in three batches, after 207 days in captivity,” he said.

“The first batch was rescued on March 15 while the second batch was rescued on April 12 and the last batch was rescued on April 14.

“All the abductees were profiled at NCTC while the ONSA Medical Team examined them and administered minor treatments on the bruises sustained by 3 of the abductees.

“Four of them were diagnosed with malaria and are being treated. None of the females was molested and all the females tested negative for pregnancy test,” he added.

One of the rescued victims, Hafsat Ibrahim, thanked God and the government for ensuring their safe return after 207 days in captivity.

Representative of the Zamfara government, Ibrahim Anka, commended the efforts of the NSA in coordinating the military and security operations that ensured the safe rescue of the victims.

Anka also commended the Federal Government for the efforts and recent positive improvement in security in the state.

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President Tinubu declares April 7, National Police day

President Bola Tinubu has declared April 7 as National Police Day.

Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, made this known on Monday night during the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations ceremony held in the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

The president identified a complete overhaul of institutional mentality and memory of police officers as fundamental in his administration’s ongoing bid to transform the force into a modern, professional and accountable institution.

According to Tinubu, his administration had initiated wide-ranging reforms to revitalize the nation’s police force since assuming office in 2023.

He, therefore, stressed the need to engage men and women of the force in training and capacity-building to equip them with the expertise required to carry out the arduous task of modern policing.

He also disclosed that the Federal Government had approved the first week of April as police week and the last day of the week as the National Police Day.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in our tradition of honouring the Police Force in the life of this great nation, we have approved the adoption of the first week of April as Police Week.

“Furthermore, the last day of the week, April 7th, is hereby declared National Police Day in Nigeria.

“Tonight, I must remind you that we don’t see you as just the shields of the nation, we don’t see you as robots.

“This is why we are here; we are here to humanise you.

“At a time in Nigeria’s history, when the nation’s security architecture is being stretched beyond elastic limits, the citizens have been able to endure in the face of security threats as well as attacks on their lives and livelihoods due to the commitment of the police.

“Your exemplary valour doesn’t only represent the pinnacle of patriotism that binds us but also instils confidence that brighter days lie just beyond the horizon,” he said.

The president listed part of the comprehensive reforms by his administration to rejuvenate the police force to include investment in training and capacity-building.

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