Born Okon Asuquo Bassey on Friday, June 3, 1932 in the coastal Creek Town, Calabar, Hogan “Kid” Bassey , as he was professionally known, became Nigeria’s first world boxing champion on June 24, 1957.
Winning the world featherweight title bout before a pristine audience in Paris, Bassey’s career finally hit the spotlight after many years of hard work. He defeated the title holder, Cherif Hamia in a keenly fought contest via a technical knock-out in the 10th round.
Hogan Bassey started his career in Nigeria but hesitantly moved to England after winning the national flyweight title, in his quest for international recognition in the pugilistic sport. His trip to London turned out better than he had imagined. He had little difficulty in bagging his boxing license from the UK authorities. And with the arduous paraphernalia of professional boxing, Bassey hired Peter Banusco to be his manager. Graduating quickly from flyweight to bantamweight to featherweight, in which category, he won the world title in 1957, Hogan’s deadly blows saw him all the way
Bassey successfully defended his title twice before succumbing to Dave Moore on August 19, 1959. The bout was his last, retiring at the age of 27.
In the 74 fights of his career, Hogan Bassey won 59 of them, lost 13 with the remaing 2 ending in a draw.
Bassey was awarded with the Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1959 and the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) in 1979 for his contributions to boxing. Upon retirement, he became a boxing coach, nurturing boxers like Nojeem Maiyegun and Isaac Ikhuoria to Olympic success. He was also part of the success story that became Dick Tiger, helping him settle down when Dick arrived England to further his own career.
Hogan Basey died peacefully at his home in Lagos on January 26, 1998. In death, he remains one of the most influential boxers in African history. He was more than a fighter. Hogan “Kid” Bassey was a champion with a heart.
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