From Tigbo-Ilu to Global Glory: The Remarkable Journey of Nigeria’s First Female Boxing World Champion, Elizabeth Oshoba

Elizabeth Oshoba was born on December 23, 1999, in Agbado, Lagos State. She completed her primary education there before her family moved to Tigbo-Ilu in Ogun State. Oshoba attended Ilogbo-Asowo Community High School in Ilogbo-Ota, where her journey into boxing began. In January 2023, Oshoba made history by defeating Italian Michela Braga in Copenhagen, Denmark, to win the World Boxing Council silver featherweight title. The judges’ scores unanimously favored Oshoba, marking her as Nigeria’s first female boxing world titleholder. This victory extended her professional record to seven wins with four knockouts.

Oshoba’s path to success was paved at the Smart Boxing Gym on Ewekoro Road, where Coach Semiu Lateef nurtured her talent. Lateef reminisced about Oshoba’s tenacity, noting her eagerness to spar with senior boxers and her parents’ supportive role, which bolstered her training and commitment. Initially reluctant, Oshoba was coaxed into boxing by her older brother, Raphael. Despite her fears, she began training at Smart Boxing Gym, where she faced tough sparring sessions against senior boxers. Her perseverance through these challenging early days was crucial to her development.

Oshoba’s family, particularly her parents, played a pivotal role in her journey. They provided financial and emotional support, reinforcing her dedication to the sport. Her father, Yakubu, and mother, Juliana, ensured she had the necessary resources and motivation to continue training. Oshoba balanced her education with rigorous training. Her commitment was evident as she walked long distances to the gym after school. Her Physical & Health Education teacher, Jimoh Gafar, recognized her boxing potential early and encouraged her to pursue the sport seriously.

Oshoba’s dedication bore fruit at the National Sports Festival and the 2019 African Games, where she won bronze in the featherweight division. She continued to excel, winning gold at the 2021 National Sports Festival in Edo State and clinching the Best Female Boxer award at the National Boxing Championships. A significant setback occurred in 2022 when Oshoba tested positive for COVID-19 before the Commonwealth Games. Despite the initial disappointment, a subsequent negative test allowed her to compete, where she won a silver medal. This performance caught the eye of UK-based manager Sean Murray, leading to her professional debut.

Oshoba’s professional career took off with two knockout victories in Nigeria before moving to the UK. In November 2023, she won the IBO female super-featherweight title and, in January 2024, secured the WBC silver featherweight title by defeating Michela Braga.

Oshoba credits her success to her challenging early training and the unwavering support of her family and community. Elizabeth Oshoba’s achievements have not only brought her personal glory but also highlighted the potential of her hometown, Tigbo-Ilu.