It’s time to fight for money
Very close to a medal! That was what Efe Ajagba made of his Olympic Games debut in Rio. But tried as he did, winning a medal was a mission impossible for the Delta state born pugilist.
Ajagba had after dismissing Trini- dad and Tobago’s Paul Nigel faced
the world number two in the +75 Kg weight category, Ivan Djck of Kazazkhstan in the quarter final. The encounter was won the Kazazkhstan boxer on points.
Ajagba who was still writhing in pains after the narrow loss told Saturday Sunsports exclusively that he
was bidding bye to amateur boxing to make money for himself. He pointed out that he ostensibly delayed his pro career move because of the Rio 2016 Olympics where he had desired to win a medal for Nigeria.
“I wanted to win an Olympic medal before turning pro. I came to Rio determined to achieve that desire, but unfortunately things didn’t work out. But I m happy I gave it my best shot. I worked very hard and my coach, Tony Konyegwachie did his very best for me. Beyond physical training, he (Konyegwachie) fasted and prayed for me to succeed here. Well I m putting what happened here behind and forge ahead by going pro,” Ajagba said.
The lanky pugilist pointed out that one of his biggest undoing in Rio was not having a sparing partner that he could train with.
“I came here without a sparing partner. I was training all alone, which was technically not okey. My preparation for the Olympics was poor. I couldn’t go the world championship because the sports ministry said there was no money. I remained in Lagos and only went into camp just two months to the Games. My opponent from Kaz on the other hand was with Klitcho and he attended several pre Olympic Games meets including the world champion- ship. That was how he got his rating as world number two and with that rating the judges will favor him. The only way the fight would have gone my way was via knock out.”
On his pro career, Ajagba disclosed that he had secured offers from differ- ent countries but had opted to settle for Canada.
“ I m going to Canada to begin my pro career,” Ajagba disclosed.
He further added that he would now upload his fights on YouTube.
“Before now, I was not putting my fights on YouTube. I wanted to finish the Olympic campaign before doing so.”
Ajagba, it would be noted was Nigeria’s only boxer that made it to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
He claimed his Olympics spot with a victory at the 2016 African Qualification tournament held in Cameroon.
Ajagba took up the sport of boxing in 2011 after previously playing foot- ball for a club in Ughelli since 2005.
He was selected to compete for
the Nigerian team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow. Competing in the super heavyweight division he defeated Junior Fa of Tonga in the round of 16 and Paul Schafer of South Africa in the quarterfinals. He advanced to the semifinals where he was defeated by Joseph Goodall
of Australia, meaning Ajagba won a bronze medal.
At the 2015 African Games held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, Ajagba was selected as the Nigerian entrant in the men’s super heavyweight event. He won the gold medal, beating Keddy Angnes of the Seychelles by a score 3–0 in the final.
In 2016 he won the gold medal in the super heavyweight event at the African Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Yaoundé, Cameroon. By doing so, he qualified to represent Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
In the first round Ajagba beat Ugandan Michael Sekamembe on points, he defeated Tunisian boxer Aymen Trabelsi in the semifinal to secure his qualification, then in the final he beat Mohamed Arjaoui of Morocco.