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Nigeria has potential to produce great boxers, says Ekundayo


Nigerian-born Larry Ekundayo

As LOC Church honours IBF champion
Nigeria’s Britain-based International Boxing Federation (IBF) European Welterweight Champion, Larry Ekundayo believes Nigeria has the potential to churn out world-class boxers if the states and Federal Government, as well as corporate bodies invested in the basic infrastructure needed to revive the sport.

Speaking at a ceremony to welcome him to Nigeria on Tuesday, Ekundayo urged the private and public sectors to establish boxing academies in the country, saying there were abundant talents that could be turned to worldbeaters with proper grooming.

The African welterweight champion said his rise to fame would have been difficult if not for the assistance he got from kind Nigerians, including Ajayi.

The ceremony was organised by Love of Christ Church, led by Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Ekundayo said, “I came into the country with my crew to thank everybody that supported me in my last fight and through the tough times. I must confess that the road to fame for me has been a very torturous one.

“I started boxing since the age of 12 and truth is that I lacked the basic foundation or springboard with which I would have launched myself into the career.

“In fact, I kept asking myself if I was doing the right thing but my spirit kept telling me not to lose focus. I am also working hard to defend  my title in December.

“I want to use my visit to also mentor children who are gifted in boxing to key in to the sport. The beginning might be rough but with determination they will succeed.”

He added: “Boxing goes beyond being talented. If you do not know the business of boxing, you may not succeed. I always knew I was talented but I also needed to eat the right meals, train the right way and generally put myself in the right shape.

“I thank everybody that supported me in my quest to be a world champion. With Rev. Abimbola-Ajayi and her Church, I found a home and that is why I cannot embrace any other Church than hers because she stood for me when there was no one to call upon other than God.

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