Londoner Larry Ekundayo has told IBF European welterweight title rival John Thain he faces a hostile atmosphere at York Hall on Friday night.
Ekundayo (13-1-KO3) and Thain (17-3-0-KO1) do battle for the vacant belt at the home of UK boxing and although originally from Nigeria, Ekundayo has fought the majority of his professional career at the venue.
‘The Natural’ said: “York Hall is my home. I live around the corner from there and have so many good memories of fighting there.
“I won Prizefighter there. I won the International Masters there. I won many more. In terms of boxing, it’s a place I feel completely comfortable in. Now I want to win the European title there.
“It means a lot for me to fight for Nigeria. I started boxing there at the age of 12. I had no parents around and boxing was the only thing that kept me going through hard times.
“To represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games and in many other international fights makes me very proud. Now, you have Anthony Joshua as the heavyweight champion and he has Nigerian heritage too. It means a lot.
“I’m trying to bring more sporting glory to Nigeria and inspire the youth. At this moment, I’m ready to make history and I hope all the Nigerians come out to support me on Friday night.”
IBF European welterweight title challenger John Thain has revealed he is driven by the fear of looking back on his career without having fulfilled his potential.
The Scot (17-3-0-KO1) travels to London’s York Hall to take on Larry Ekundayo (13-1-KO3) for the title on #SeizeTheCity this Friday – live on iFL TV – and heads south full of hope.
Thain said: “I always wanted to be a champion and win the traditional belts – British, Commonwealth and European – before going as far as I can from there.
“A good friend of mine told me the reason he thought I was still boxing was because I’m yet to achieve my potential. No matter what that potential is, I want to be able to look back and say I achieved it.
“I know I haven’t got there yet and if I don’t reach that potential, it’ll prey on my mind. I don’t know what the limit is but if I can look back and say I won titles, that’d be special.
“People who knew me before I started boxing never predicted I’d turn professional, let alone fight for a European title.
“I know for sure that Larry Ekundayo is a good boxer but in this welterweight division, there are no easy fights if you want to be a champion. I believe I’ll have my hand raised on Friday.”
Larry Ekundayo is determined to claim the IBF European title against John Thain on Friday night and take a step back to where he feels he belongs – the world stage.
Nigeria’s Ekundayo clashes with Thain on the MTK London show at York Hall and having suffered a split decision defeat to world title challenger Gary Corcoran a year ago, is relishing the chance to shine.
Ekundayo (13-1-KO3) said: “Winning this title will give my career a big boost. I’m delighted to be fighting for it and it will hopefully put me back in the top 15 or top 20 in the world.
“I’m always operating at a high level. I fought for the WBO International against Corcoran and still believe I won.
“The fact that it was such a close fight shows I’m world level because Corcoran went on to fight for the world title. I felt I was landing the better shots against him despite breaking my hand in the second round.
“That’s all behind me anyway. I’m on to better things. I’ve had surgery on my hand now and this is a massive opportunity for me.
“I watched Thain against Skeete and he’s a quality fighter. I also saw some of his other fights. He’s very rangy and smart with a good boxing brain. I rate him but I’m better.”
Also on a stacked card at the home of London boxing is Siar Ozgul’s Southern Area title defence against Mikey Sakyi plus the likes of Dan Azeez and Mitchell Frearson.