By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – England-based Nigerian boxer, Larry ‘The Natural’ Ekundayo Friday night defeated his British opponent, John Thain in London, to clinch the European International Boxing Federation title.
Ekundayo was adjudged the IBF champion with all three judges scoring him as the winner of the prestigious European belt at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, the home of British boxing.
The victory over Thain has made Ekundayo the highest ranked Nigerian boxer in the world and also positioned him for a world title shot.
In a fight that lasted 12 rounds, Ekundayo showed outclassed Thain who got a bloodied nose and was left bleeding for about six rounds.
Khomeini Bukhari, Director of Africa, Peel Aston Global and a member of Team Ekundayo, in a statement on Saturday, commended the pugilist for doing his country proud.
Among supporters at the ringside was the Nigerian High Commissioner to United Kingdom, Amb. George Oguntade and members of ‘Team Ekundayo.’
“Larry Ekundayo did fantastic, I am so proud of him and so should Nigeria be. Larry worked so hard for this day, we his team have seen his struggles paying off. We have worked very hard to help get Larry to this opportunity, it hasn’t been easy, we are happy that he has made Nigeria very proud,” he stated.
The new IBF champion had before the fight promised to defend the title in Nigeria saying, “After the heartbreak of the World Cup, I hope to win the IBF title this week, so as to bring to Nigeria the international sporting success that we can all cheer about. Once I win, I would love to defend it on Nigerian soil.”
Ben Gray, Ekundayo’s commercial agent had also disclosed that the boxer would visit the country to thank his supporters.
“When Larry wins this prestige’s IBF title, he would have conquered Europe, in addition to being African Champion. This belt is the equivalent of winning the UEFA cup in football; Once he wins, he will be coming to Nigeria to thank those who have supported him throughout his journey to the top, as well as celebrate with the people of Nigeria,” he stated.