By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: Nigerian-born European International Boxing Federation champion, Larry Ekundayo has pledged to win more laurels for the country and stamp its name on the world boxing map.
This was as he disclosed of his plans to set up boxing academies in Nigeria and London to identify and build new talents.
The pugilist who defeated John Thain in London in a fight that lasted 12 rounds to win the European International Boxing Federation title on 13 July this year, is presently on a six-day tour of Nigeria.
“I don’t just believe; I know I will still go very far, if there is someone like Bernard Hopkins who at almost 50 was beating young prospects, then I can do better,” he said while speaking in Lagos on arrival.
Ekundayo shot into limelight when he won the African Boxing Union Welterweight, ABU title in 2015 but he recounted that it was a tough period in his life and needed to dig deeper to become a champion.
“I remember trying to go to the Olympics back then for Nigeria but it didn’t work out. As a pro, I am making up for all the disappointments,” he said.
The 36-year old boxer stressed that: “I think I was out of action for like two…but I came back strong to do what I had to do. That is my message for the youth that they should not be deterred by any situation they find themselves but make the champion in them come out.”
The Lagos-born boxer said he already has his plans at restoring the lost primacy of professional boxing in Nigeria as he is billed to set up boxing academies in Nigeria and London where he can groom fighters that can compete globally.