By Sulayman Bah
Status, following and a jewel lie at stake. The euphoria hovering over the combat has already reached rooftop. Alla Promotions are the makers of the event. Their way to here haven’t been easy as they needed to ward off competitions from seven other local promoters who all attempted to lure the wrestlers but Alla’s over D200, 000 enticement flipped the magic.
Unlike in Senegal where adornments makeover cities of wrestlers due to partake in a combat, over here residents are calm with festivities only occurring on day of a battle.
The 35,000 capacity-seater Independence Stadium will be the venue and 30 minutes decides who become Gambia’s first King of Arena.
Leket Bu Barra and Hoyantan are the wrestlers slugging it out for the grand crown. Both have come of a long painful journey. Hoyantan went from whistle of the village to talk of the town. 2012 was the year he entered the arena –at a time the sport was being revived having remained dormant for over decades.
As little as D10,000 or even less would then be considered a big payday, and enough for two heavyweights to lock horns. Times have changed and those torrid moments well behind.
The juggernaut of Club Ndongo Ceesay, Hoyantan’s biggest breakthrough came following his win over Kunta Kinteh, making his meeting with then crowd favourite Tass-sa-yaram of Serrekunda Mbolloh inevitable. The crowd that Gamtel-sponsored duel pulled off is still to be matched.
Hoyantan will go on to swagger over Yaya Jammeh of Police Force Wrestling Club, then Action of Kololi Mbolloh, Gambien of Club Kharange Family and latest against Banjul Saku Ham Ham’s ‘France’ on grounds of warnings.
However, in Leket Bu Barra, he faces a man who is yet to taste defeat and the erstwhile captain of the Gambia national team.
The fight deal was sealed after Leket called out Hoyantan accusing his adversary of collaborating with Manduwar in his last combat behind the scenes.
The relationship between two is not tempestuous but both have been keeping a respectable distance in all their face-to-face meetings with only words being exchanged.
The atmosphere is however charged up as thousands prepare to flock to the Independence Stadium to watch what is being tagged ‘fight of the decade.’
Pundits expect a long drawn out fight on account both aren’t ferocious punchers and rely more on traditional wrestling –mbapath –to win games.
We would get to find out who wears the crow on the night of Sunday.