In Lagos, Nigeria, the first-ever African Knockout Championship hosted by African Knockout and led by Kamaru Usman will kick off in SOL Beach by Box Mall, Oniru, Lagos today.
26 fighters from seven African countries will battle for ultimate bragging rights and rewards in the first edition of the tourney, which will run in different segments until the first-ever AKO champions are announced in December in the final event of the year.
In a statement by Natasha Belousova, COO and co-founder of 54 Limited, reads “We have a dream to bring and develop MMA in Africa because Africa is rich in talents and metro diamonds in sports, and that’s why we decided to organise this platform and give the opportunity to talented and skilled athletes in Africa and Nigeria to participate, to rise, and to demonstrate their skills in Africa and around the world.
“This is just the start, we are starting slowly. This year we’re starting the championship, which consists of five events; three regular-season events, one semifinal, and one final in December, where we’ll crown the first African MMA champions. Next year, we plan to expand it to eight events in more African countries, and that is the platform that will give African athletes chances to showcase their skills and move forward. “In this tournament, we have 14 African countries, and next year, we plan to have 25 African countries and increase the number of divisions,” she told said.
She also praised Nigeria as the heart of Africa, explaining the reason why the first edition of the tournament was launched in Nigeria, “There are many reasons, first of all, the first MMA African Champion is Kamaru Usman, he’s Nigerian, another champion in the UFC is Israel Adesanya, both Nigerians. Nigeria is the biggest country, Nigeria has the biggest population, Nigeria has the biggest potential, and Nigeria is the heart of Africa.”