There has never been a professional boxing event in Liberia, however Boxing Is Love Executive Director, Jason Scalzo is determined to deliver just that and make a real difference in third world countries through boxing.
Inspired by Muhammad Ali’s work in promoting the iconic Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire, in 1974, in which ‘The Greatest’ knocked out George Foreman in eight rounds, Scalzo is in the midst of transforming the war-torn country, as a result of his ambitious initiative.
Boxing Is Love, which is in association with BOXRAW, first entered Liberia in 2018, with the goal of helping kids pursue a passion.
Liberia has had two devastating civil wars, taking thousands of lives, however Scalzo’s project has provided the children with a goal to strive for and nurtured vital skills, such as discipline and confidence, which boxing delivers in all walks of life.
“The second we stepped foot in Liberia and we had gloves which they’d never seen before, we hung heavy bags, something they’d never seen before, it stimulated a curiosity,” Scalzo told proboxing-fans.com.
“Where they got a little bit closer and a little bit more comfortable to purse something that was otherwise uncomfortable.
“Then they started to hit the bag and that just transfers into so many other aspects of life.
“It’s just that initial step forward that transfers passion from curiosity and that’s what’s going to really help these kids in the long term.”
Such has been the success of the programme, Boxing Is Love is expanding by constructing a gym, which will not only act as a refuge for kids to hone their craft, but is hoped will provide a facility which attracts those involved in the sport, in a more prominent capacity to visit and provide guidance.
The gym, which will be built from recycled shipping containers, will be a pristine set-up and not only benefitting those inside of it’s walls, but perhaps even more significantly, financially the country will reap the rewards.
“We’re creating jobs, we’re creating infrastructure, we’re stimulating the economy as a result of tourism,” Scalzo added.
“All these things are a knockdown effect of the gym and the aspirations of every programme, and by the way we’re spreading boxing in a way that should be spread and that’s through love.
“The goal on top of that is to create a global community of individuals that believe in these three words. They believe that boxing is love.
“How they consume those three words, how they define it, is going to be conveyed in the notion of the mission.”
There are several current professionals who have outlined their intentions to go back to their routes through boxing.
Unified heavyweight world champion, Anthony Joshua, who comes from Nigerian descent has previously gone on record stating it would be a dream of his to stage a fight in Nigeria.
Olympic bronze medalist and current undefeated light heavyweight contender, Joshua Buatsi also has ambitions to fight in his native Ghana and Scalzo stressed that, holding a fight in regions like Liberia is the ultimate goal.
“It’s imperative. That’s the prize fight of the climax of what we’re trying to achieve.
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“You watch every boxing movie, there’s always that final fight, but what you latch onto is that training montage where the music starts going, the drums starts beating and that’s what you latch onto.
“Having an event in Liberia, whether it would be with Freddy Kiwitt headlining it or other notable Liberian fighters that have felt comfortable now to return, because a lot of them are scarred to even return.
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@isaacbraveson represents everything good about the sport of boxing, and the mission of Boxing Is Love. He is beloved by the people of his country, Ghana 🇬🇭, and loves them and the people of West Africa in return. His war cry: ••••• NEHO Never-failing Excellence Hope Overcome •••• “God has given us a never-failing excellence that through hope we shall overcome.” •••• 🇬🇭+🇱🇷=🥊❤️ Pleasure to have his support and can’t wait hear the children of #ChristsChildrensHome screaming… NEHO!! @savemorekids @boxraw @johnpopsarthur #liberia #ghana #westafrica #boxingislove
“But, breaking down the barriers, the current infrastructure happens, stimulating the economy, that is absolutely essential.
“If we can replicate professional bouts, throughout the world, through the banner of boxing is love, so many things can change as a result of that.
“The actions and the behaviour of the fighters and the promoters and the managers, we collectively come together for the appropriate cause.”
And Scalzo, who is also the manager of unbeaten heavyweight Tim Moten, amongst others, has encouraged the likes of Buatsi and fellow Ghanian and former world champion Isaac Dogboe to contact him, with a view to making this a reality.
Watch the full, captivating interview with Jason Scalzo below: