Nigerian-born International Boxing Federation European Welterweight champion, Larry Ekundayo, has urged the private and public sectors to invest in the game by establishing academies in the country.
Ekundayo, who is also the African champion in the welterweight category and was hosed to a lavish reception on Monday at the Sheraton Hotel by the General Overseer of the Love of Christ Church, London, Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, said establishment of boxing academies would serve as spring board to develop the game in the country.
Ekundayo, who is also the International Master Champion and Prize Fighter, said the academies would breed pugilists in the country which has a growing population of teenagers and youths interested in taking boxing as a profession.
He said: “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 foundation or spring board 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.’’
While appreciating the Rev. Mother Ajayi for her investment and support, the IBF European champion said that he owed his success today to God and Rev. Mother Ajayi who stood steadfastly behind him.
According to him, ” Boxing goes beyond being talented and if you do not know the business of the game, you may not likely to succeed. I have always known that I am talented but I also needed to eat the right meals , train the right way and generally put myself in the right shape.
‘’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 by me when there was no one to call upon other than God; I am sure God sent her to me because it has been one success or the other since I became a member of her congregation. “Rev. Mother Ajayi, who hosted Ekundayo ,alongside Khomeini Bukhari , Director , Africa Division Peel Aston Global and Ben Gray, Commercial agent to Larry and Hon Abimbola Animasaun-Abdul , said she decided to extend a hand of fellowship to Ekundayo because she believed in his talent and prowess.
Rev. Mother Ajayi added that, “I got a letter in my London home from the Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and I never discountenance anything from the Ooni. Immediately, I saw him, I saw a champion and we started to invest in his life through prayers and other areas. Today, he is a world champion and he has just even started.
‘’I am glad he is succeeding and he never fails to come for thanksgiving wherever he wins a fight and I am compelled to do more for him and other people. After all, giving is my attitude.’’
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