Evander Holyfield donates $3m to Lagos State as part of drive to improve local healthcare

FORMER world heavyweight boxing champ[ions Evander Holyfield has pledged to donate health facilities worth $3m to Lagos State as his contribution to assisting Nigeria overcome her socio-economic challenges.

Earlier this week, Mr Holyfield landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, where he was received with aplomb. He later met with former state governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and yesterday he was received by incumbent governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the State House in Alausa.

During the visit, Mr Holyfield also said that his foundation would be established in the state, adding that the gesture was part of his strategy of giving back to society. Later on in the week, the former world champion will be engaging in a charity rumble fight with Asiwaju Tinubu, where Governor Ambode will act as a judge.

According to Mr Holyfield, giving back to the society would help children who had an interest in sports to actualise their dreams as he was able to do. He said his visit was to give kids the basic knowledge in boxing and inspire them on how to maintain a winning attitude.

Mr Holyfield, who narrated how his mother supported his boxing career, said his mother often advised him to hold on to what he was good at and never quit even when the tide was not good. He added that this saw him through tough times.

“I held on to those words and they assisted me in becoming world heavyweight champion today. I believe that the kids should be inspired just like my mother inspired me to hold on tenaciously to those things I am good at,” Mr Holyfield said.

Responding, Governor Ambode assured Mr Holyfield that the Lagos State government would partner the foundation to achieve its aim in the country. According to the governor, the essence of leadership was to inspire others to achieve their potential in their chosen field.

Governor Ambode also said the time has now come to give boxing its pride of place in Nigerian sports. He expressed appreciation to the Holyfield Foundation for the gesture and also thanked the former champion for being in town for the Lagos at 50 celebrations.

Evander Holyfield, who competed from 1984 to 2011, reigned as the undisputed champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, being the first and to date only boxer in history to do so. He is the only four-time world heavyweight champion, having held the WBA, WBC, IBF, and lineal titles from 1990 to 1992 and the WBA, IBF, and lineal titles again from 1993 to 1994.