IBF European Welterweight champion, Larry Ekundayo is anxious to have a world title fight in Nigeria this year.
On 13 July 2018, Ekundayo won the European International Boxing Federation title by defeating John Thain in London in a fight that lasted 12 rounds and five months later, retained the title with a unanimous points win over Louis Greene of the United Kingdom.
Nicknamed ‘The Natural’, the moment he won the European title, the Mushin-born boxer started yearning for a world title fight in Lagos, Nigeria.
In an exclusive interview with Channels Sports in London, Ekundayo believes having a fight at home will inspire the youths and ignite more interest in the sport.
“It is very important for me to fight at home. It’s a big one for me and I want to use boxing to pass a message to the youths in Nigeria that can inspire them. Let them know that if I can leave the country and become a champion, they can also do it.”
But having a fight in Nigeria has been so challenging, Ekundayo described it as frustrating. But he is keeping the faith and calling for more support to make the fight happen.
“It’s been really challenging. This is the hardest time of my career that I actually want a fight in my hometown and it’s been really hard. It has been postponed three times and that is not good for me mentally and I’m wasting money preparing for a fight that is not happening.”
The Nigerian professional boxer wants more support for boxing in the country. He explained that boxing in the United Kingdom is doing well, contributing to the economy and the same can be achieved when we put the right people and structures that will aid the development.
Saturday, 9th November 2019 has been fixed as a tentative date for the world title fight in Lagos. Though no opponent has been announced by the organisers, Ekundayo is optimistic it will happen.
In a relaxed mood, the prizefighter winner concluded the interview with this line “We can host a world title fight in Nigeria, just to motivate other boxers to come home. I want to be a lion in the jungle, not a dog in the city”.