As a 12-year old kid growing up in Lagos, Larry Ekundayo already had the dream of becoming a boxer and not the doctor, lawyer nor engineer his peers would readily say they want to be.
However, the journey to making that big dream turn to a reality has been all but rosy for Ekundayo whose name can be translated as ‘tears turning to joy’.
Ekundayo who arrived in Lagos on Monday from the United Kingdom ahead of a six-day tour in Nigeria told PREMIUM TIMES he is grateful for the initial setbacks he has been able to conquer and where he is now.
He also expressed optimism that with the kind of support he is now getting and the more backing he is working towards, he is very sure of still going far even at 36.
“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.
Before relocating to the UK where he is now based, Ekundayo fought his way and was able to represent Nigeria at the 1999 All African Games as well at the 2002 Commonwealth Games but he was unable to make it to the Olympic Games thereafter.
“I would not say I regretted not winning any medals at these events… you live and learn, I learned from every defeat I suffered in my amateur career, yes I was disappointed but no regrets,” Ekundayo stated.
After honing his skills as an amateur boxer, Ekundayo soon turned pro and for him, his professional career has been rewarding and making up for the former disappointments and heartaches.
“I remember trying to go the Olympics back then for Nigeria but it didn’t work out, as a pro , I am making up for all the disappointments as an amateur and I am grateful to God and those that are supporting me,” he said.
Ekundayo shot into the limelight when he won the African Boxing Union Welterweight, ABU title in 2015 but he recounts that it was a tough period in his life and needed to dig deep to become a Champion.
He said: ‘I think I was out of action for like two years before that fight because my youngest daughter was diagnosed of cancer, but I came back strong to do what I have 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.”
After his ABU title, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Ekundayo who admitted it not being easy combining working for a daily living and professional boxing together.
Things have however, gotten better for the boxer following the support he now has from the General Overseer of the Love of Christ Church, London, Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi.
Mrs Ajayi hosted Ekudayo in Lagos on Monday with several young people in attendance to learn from the resilience of the boxer who weathered the storm into stardom.
The first fruit from the massive support offered Ekundayo by the Love of Christ Church, LOC is the European International Boxing Federation welterweight which the boxer assures is the first of many still to come.
“No disrespect to the former champion who I defeated but sincerely with the support I got from LOC, it was very easy for me to win, that kind of support has been missing for me for several years but I thank Mother Esther for coming to my rescue”
Still hoping for more support coming through, Ekundayo who is billed to visit President Muhammadu Buhari, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu during his Nigeria Tour said he already has his plans at helping the glory days of boxing return to Nigeria.
Among other things, Ekundayo said he is looking to setting up boxing academies in Nigeria and London where he can groom fighters to fight across the world.
Maradona plans to remain as head coach of Dorados
Argentine football great Diego Maradona on Friday appeared to backtrack on plans to quit as head coach of Mexican second division side Dorados at the end of the season, Xinhua news agency reported.
Maradona said earlier this month that he was considering leaving because of alleged bias from referees towards opposition teams.
However, the 58-year-old changed his tone after Dorados’ 1-0 home victory over Cimarrones de Sonora in their Ascenso MX quarterfinal first leg.
“I have to talk to (team owner) Jorge Alberto Hank, because I have ideas for the next tournament for Dorados. I feel an attachment with the club and I’ll defend my players to the death,” he told reporters.
The result extended Dorados’ unbeaten run to 10 matches.
The 1986 World Cup winner took charge of Dorados in September, guiding them to last season’s playoffs following six wins in seven matches.
Michael Jordan praises Tiger Woods, says his Masters victory is greatest comeback
Michael Jordan says Tiger Woods’ Masters victory last weekend is the greatest comeback of all-time.
“He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit,” M.J. told The Athletic … “To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”
“I never thought he’d get back physically.He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now.”
M.J. added, “He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable.”
Legendary Sports Broadcaster, Chet Coppock dies from injuries sustained during ghastly auto crash
Chicago sports broadcasting icon, Chet Coppock has died April 6 car after the accident in South Carolina.
Known as ‘The Godfather of Sports, Coppock was seated in the passenger seat during the crash, according to Chicago’s ABC affiliate.
The driver, a woman only identified as a 50-year-old from Hammond, Indiana crossed over the media and struck another vehicle head on before colliding with a third vehicle.
The driver’s condition has not been publicized.
Following the crash, which took place near the South Carolina-Georgia border, Coppock was transported to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, where he ultimately died on Wednesday.
According to his former wife Anna Marie Busalacchi, Coppock’s family was by his side.
Investigators are continuing to examine the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Coppock’s daughter Lyndsey announced her father’s death on Facebook.
Denrele Edun shares throwback Photo of how it all started for him
Kim Kardashian & her Lawyer, Shawn Holley honoured for their Prison Reform work
Jussie Smollet facing Night Terrors
Entertainment Icon, John Singleton hospitalised after suffering stroke
Oritsefemi & wife, Nabila celebrate 2nd Wedding Anniversary
Nigeria’s Publiseer To Feature At Katapult Future Fest 2019 in Norway
Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj to go on tour together
Singer, Adele separates from her husband, Simon Konecki
Reno Omokri kisses Michael Jackson’s statue in far away Austria
Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke Neutralise 2 Armed Bandits
News8 months ago
Calm returns at Maiduguri Airport after Soldier’ gun protest
News4 months ago
Video: Fire engulfs Forte Oil filling station at Local Airport in Lagos
Business8 months ago
Photos from Tony Elumelu’s Mother’s 90th birthday party
News2 months ago
Gas Explosion kills six, over 20 trapped at mine in South Africa
News6 months ago
Angola sets to close down unregistered churches
Politics1 year ago
Nigerian judges burdened with too many cases — Ajimobi
Business1 year ago
Jim Ovia pledges ₦250m to Lagos State Security Trust Fund
General8 months ago
‘World’s hottest grandma’ Gina Stewart topless in a Jacuzzi