The first man of Nigerian descent to become a world boxing champion

Hogan “Kid” Bassey MBE MON (3 June 1932 – 26 January 1998) was a Nigerian-British boxer; he was the first man of Nigerian descent to become a world boxing champion. 

BACKGROUND

He was born Okon Asuquo Bassey on the banks of the Cross River, Creek Town, Calabar, Nigeria, and became naturalised British when he moved to the UK, where he spent most of his life in Liverpool. He took the name Kid Bassey when he turned professional as a boxer. He was managed by and trained by George Biddles and Jimmy August. 

After 14 contests in Nigeria, Bassey went to Liverpool, England, arriving there three days before Christmas 1951. 

After winning the Empire featherweight championship, he won the WBA world featherweight title by defeating French Algerian Cherif Hamia in Paris on the 24 June 1957. He lost the title to US fighter Davey Moore on 18 March 1959. Other opponents include Billy “Spider” Kelly, Percy Lewis, Tommy Profitt, Sammy McCarthy, Ricardo Moreno, and Willie Pep.

In the 1958 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) “for services to sport in the Eastern Region, Nigeria”.Bassey went on to become a coach in Nigeria, which awarded him the country’s highest honour, the Order of the Niger, in 1973. He died on 26 January 1998 at his home in Apapa, Lagos.


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