Efe Ajagba: A Time of Reckoning

efe ajagba

Boxing as a sport or martial art is ancient to countless cultures across the world. A century ago, boxing in Urhoboland was known as ubi ejeh (the service of punches) or Urhobo Blow (UB) in pidgin. The sport of UB, many rue, has all but faded away even as folklore. Some have hoped for its revival, to no avail. However, arts long forgotten can become popular again and take on a new existence (cf. Olympic Games). All it takes is a chance of incidence. Efe Ajagba, a US based heavyweight boxer, of Urhobo heritage might be the man UB needs. He is a fantastic boxer whose fights prompt many of his people to desire the return of Ubi ejeh. Seeing two or more Urhobos watching an Ajagba fight will give you a sense of that revival spirit. We do not intend presenting claims about his future as world champion. The heritage of his fighting style and his need to upgrade it is our interest here. Continue reading

Urhobo Blow (UB): A True Martial Art and Sport?

Urhobo Blow (UB), Ubi ejeh [service of punches] or Ohonre r’ubi [battle of punches], is a traditional martial art developed by the Urhobos for military action, but in recent times, it became a contest of strength by young males at annual or seasonal festivals. UB has its similarities with mainstream boxing, but the differences are steep. Many ethnic groups in Africa have their own boxing and wrestling arts. Still, the distinct feature of UB is that fighters place their knock-out punch hand on their backs just above the buttocks during fights. UB is over the years is becoming extinct due to lack of interest and exposure, but may make a big comeback as a mixed martial art of international status. UB was once a source of great community pride and made heroes. So, what makes UB worthy of attention? Continue reading