He was Nigeria’s lone qualifier for the boxing event of the 2016 Olympic Games here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Efe Ajagba had so much prospect of an Olympic medal in just his first outing. But On Tuesday night, Kazakhstan’s world number two super heavyweight boxer, Ivan Dychko, ended the dream for the gangling Nigerian with a 10-9, 10-9, 9-10 victory.
Ivan was the better boxer of the two but Ajagba banked on his strength to knock him out. The Kazakhstan amateur boxer with two previous Olympic experiences under his belt, appeared to know what to do to progress to the semi final stage.
He did not allow Ajagba the type of luxury he got in his quarter final clash with Trinidad and Tobago’s Paul Nigel. Ivan maximized his longer reach due to his height and body mass. His jabs were spot on and the only way the Nigerian boxer could have won was through a knock-out.
“I tried my best against Ivan but it was not easy. I know that it was his two other previous outings at the Olympic that helped him,” gushed Ajagba moments after he climbed down from the squared ropes at Arena Six Rio Centro venue of the boxing event of the 2016 Olympic Games.
Just like every other Team Nigeria athlete here, Ajagba partly blamed his failure to reach the semi final where he would have been sure of at least a bronze medal, on the poor preparation that trailed the contingent to Brazil.
“I know that it was going to be a tough fight because it is not easy to beat such highly rated boxers in the Olympics. I prepared myself to go against all odds to get a medal of any colour to tell those other boxers behind me in Nigeria that there is future for them. But I had only one coach to support me. He was the same person doing sparring sessions with me unlike boxers from other countries who had full complement of staff managing their affairs,” he revealed.
The Delta-born boxer who told THISDAY that he was done with amateur rank admitted that he already has a contract in Canada to go professional immediately after the Games in Brazil.
“I have finished with amateur boxing. I have a contract to go professional in Canada,” stressed the super heavyweight boxer.