‘Ajose, Ekundayo need Nigerians’ help to become world champions’


Olusegun Ajose (left) and Larry Ekundayo are Nigeria’s brightest prospects for world boxing titles since Samuel Peters ruled the heavyweight about a decade ago.

Meet President Buhari tomorrow 

THEY are the country’s best hope for world boxing titles since heavyweight, Samuel Peters, dominated the world stage, but they still lack the basic support needed to become global champions.

Segun Ajose and Larry Ekundayo are two of the best boxers in the world right now, but they have not had the opportunities their talent and profile should get them because they lack the needed support to make that last step.

However, that may end soon as the process to ensure they attained their potential has already begun. The boxers came in to Nigeria at the weekend and are scheduled to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow at the Presidential Villa to discuss how the new Government’s Change Agenda can help Nigerian youths and deliver sporting glory for the country at the Diaspora Day in Abuja.

Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos on Saturday, the boxers’ manager, Ben Gray, disclosed a detailed plan has been put together, which the boxers will deliver to the President with a view to getting the government’s support in their quest to become world champions in the next 18 months.

According to Gray, the specific aim is to deliver the country’s world champions and also kick start a sporting legacy for the youth of Nigeria, “which the whole country can be proud of, help national unity and bring sporting glory to the country, whilst also improving the country’s image internationally.”

According to Gray, “It is an unfortunate fact that these two fine Nigerians would have been world champions by now were they Americans or British. “

However, as they are Nigerians they have suffered both a lack of support from previous governments and faced horrendous racism overseas.

With the new government, and the Nigerian Change Agenda in place, we hope we can deliver the country great sporting success and deliver a plan for increased health and self-respect for Nigeria’s youth.”

Explaining the ‘Diaspora Day’ activities, promoter of the Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit and former Chairman of the Central Association of Nigerians in the United Kingdom, Bimbo Roberts Folayan, said it is an annual event supported by the government of Nigeria to celebrate the Diaspora’s contribution to National development.

This year’s event is the seventh in the series and several Nigerian experts in medicine, youths, sports and education, including the boxers and other achievers from the Diaspora, will dialogue on ways and means of repatriating expertise, Nigerian brains and skills scattered all over the world.”

At the media briefing, Folayan thanked the management of Arik Air and Union Bank (U.K) for their support to boxers, adding that the two fighters would become champions if other corporate bodies rallied round them.

Aside looking at ways to promote their boxing careers, the boxers also want to help the country reap the benefits of the many talents, especially in boxing, that abound in the country.

Ajose, a former number one contender for the world welterweight title, has promised to visit the camp of the Nigerian boxing team currently camped in Lagos to motivate them to excel at the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville.

He charged administrators to always be proactive in preparing athletes for tournaments because that is the only way the athletes could excel.

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