Former British and Commonwealth Light Heavy weight boxing champion, Peter Oboh has showered encomiums on former world middle and light heavyweight champion, Richard Ihetu a.k.a. Dick Tiger, saying, “he remains one of the best boxers that ever lived on the surface of the earth.”
Speaking on the impact the late Dick Tiger had on the global boxing scene while he reigned, Oboh who in his active days as a professional, fought under the British flag, said the former world middle and light heavyweight champion was so popular that the mention of his name, till date still creates shockwaves in world boxing.
He recalled, “When I was in London, I went to a gym and during a discussion I told an elderly coach that I am a Nigerian, the first thing he asked was whether I knew Dick Tiger.
“ The coach from Liverpool, who was a professional boxer while Tiger was alive and boxing in Liverpool too, told me that Dick Tiger was one of the toughest boxers he had ever known. I was amazed.”
Oboh, now retired and back in Nigeria said Tiger’s proficiency was so exceptional that he proved by being “the first African to win two world championship belts in two divisions (middle and lightweight).
“ He was a colossus and lived ahead of his time,” Oboh further explained.
Dick Tiger’s glittering boxing career was, however blurred by his involvement in the
Biafran struggle, a development, which Oboh warned, “sportsmen and women to be wary of getting involved in political issues.”
He said despite that sad chapter in the man’s life, “Dick Tiger remains the hero of our time and should be honoured as such.”
The Nigerian middleweight sportsman and boxer from Ubahu village, Dick Tiger was born as Richard Ihetu on 14 August 1929 in Amaigbo, Nigeria. He was an “in–house fighter” at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. He became a two-time undisputed world middleweight titlist and helped keep boxing alive during the 1950s boxing industry recession. He was appointed CBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but he returned his insignia as a protest for what he perceived as a lack of support by Great Britain to the Biafran cause. There is no doubt that he was one of the greatest fighters to come out of Africa.