The Africa Fighters League (AFL) is set to energize the ancient martial art of Dambe through the inception of Dambe Warriors League (DWL) in Nigeria, a groundbreaking collaboration intended to showcase the sport within the country and beyond. Following their purchase of a majority stake in Lost Child Media, a Dambe sports promotion company founded by Chidi Anyina and Anthony Okeleke, and subsequently securing other key local sponsors and partners, AFL officially launched DWL on September 3rd in Kano in front of an oversold crowd at the Ado Bayero Square.
Dambe is a traditional martial art which originated among the Hausa people in northern Nigeria. It began as a form of self-defence and a means of settling disputes, originally intertwined with harvest festivals, and serving as demonstrations of young men’s strength. Dambe has found a new platform for expression and growth with DWL, which commits to preserving the legacy and traditions of Dambe while empowering its young warriors and strengthening communities across Nigeria.
Hugh Guill and Kinglsey Pungong, the Co-Founders of AFL and DWL share jointly, “We want Nigerians to take pride in the cultural export that Dambe represents and have our sights set on providing all Nigerians access to world-class Dambe fights and premium content. Chidi and Anthony have done a phenomenal job cultivating a Dambe network over these past years, and now DWL is working tirelessly to make our new vision a reality. The primary objective of the DWL is to harness, polish, and effective distribute the Dambe ecosystem, while always preserving the tradition, honour, and will that has driven the sport forward for centuries. We are excited about the potential of Dambe on a domestic and global scale and we are committed to showcasing its rich heritage while propelling it into the future.”
Today, DWL aims to refine Dambe into a regulated sport that emphasises bravery and unity to yield positive outcomes for the young warriors within its ranks and the communities they come from. AFL and DWL’s commitment to the sport’s resurgence has not only ignited a renewed interest in the ancient artform but has also paved the way for the personal and professional development of these talented warriors.
With Circuit Fights scheduled approximately every two weeks, DWL is positioning themselves to deliver heart-pounding battles via Livestream and derivative content via a Dambe Warriors mobile app in partnership with a major telecommunications provider. These Circuit Fights are an electrifying spectacle that keep fans on the edge of their seats while showcasing the raw power, skills, and passion of the 18 best Dambe warriors in the world. For example, at Circuit Fight 01 this September 3rd, a sold-out crowd of over 5,000 spectators witnessed 9 fights that culminated in Dogon Sisco knocking out Saudi Arabia’s own Hussain Almutairi to the delight of the Kano crowd. Following his punishing defeat, Almutairi subsequently retired from Dambe Warriors League, which cemented Nigeria’s place at the top of the Dambe universe.
Following Circuit Fight 01, all 18 warriors earned their first official rankings based on their performance. At the end of the three-month fight circuit, DWL’s two top-ranked warriors will square off at Dambe SuperFight 01 at Kano Pillars Stadium for the largest cash prize in Dambe history. With Circuit Fight 02 scheduled for September 17th at Dei-Dei Gidan Dambe in Abuja and Circuit Fight 03 scheduled for October 1st, Nigeria’s Independence Day, at Ado Bayero Square in Kano, this next month promises to be very significant in the history of Dambe.
“We’re excited about hosting this match on Independence Day,” Guill and Pungong add. “It’s such a great way to celebrate Nigeria with something so intrinsic to the country’s rich cultural heritage. And of course, it’s a fantastic spectacle – fans are in for a treat. Tickets are selling fast, which is a testament to the special place this sport holds in the hearts and minds of Nigerians.”