Since the 1950s, Nigerian boxers have held their own (and often far better than their own) in international boxing competition. Examples include Hogan "Kid" Bassey (born Okon Bassey Asuquo), who won the world featherweight championship in 1957, and Dick Tiger (born Richard Ihetu), who won a succession of middleweight and…
Evala is a form of traditional wrestling practised mainly by the Kabyé of northern Togo, in West Africa. Competitors meet yearly at a festival following a retreat marking the initiation of young men into adulthood.
Istunka, also known as Dabshid, is a festival held annually in Afgooye, Somalia on the Somali new year. The tournament was developed during the medieval Ajuuraan period, and was centralized in the 19th century under the Geledi sultanate. Consisting of several teams engaging each other in mock combat, it is…
Many called it the biggest match of all time. Others, just the biggest of the season. Either way, it was too big for the limited seating at Demba Diop Stadium here — a fact not lost on those who started lining up outside at 9 a.m., 10 hours before the…
Nguni stick fighting (also known as donga, or dlala 'nduku, which literally translates as playing sticks) is a martial art traditionally practiced by teenage Nguni herdboys in South Africa. Each combatant is armed with two long sticks, one of which is used for defense and the other for offense. Little…
Musangwe boxing was used as a way to select the bravest men in the tribe. In northern South Africa, men of the Venda tribe continue the centuries-old tradition of musangwe, a form of bare-knuckle boxing that helps young men cope with present-day challenges. He circles the gathered men, waiting for…
The goal of Nuba wrestling is to slam the opponent to the ground. Wrestling is relatively recreational, and serious injuries are rare. Nuba wrestling has no pinning and no submissions. Although there are strikes, these are essentially part of the grappling; in other words, this is not a boxing system,…
Stick fighting is part martial art, part ritual, part sport. It's seriously dangerous. 'If you get hit in the stomach it can kill you,' says Bargalu, Bruce's host. That's not to mention the danger if someone in the crowd decides to use their gun.