The young Nigerian, who just became the new World Boxing Federation (WBF) International Super Featherweight Champion, Ridwan Oyekola Scorpion, has revealed that his rise to prominence in the boxing profession was tortuous while describing it as an adventure that turned around his life for the better.
While urging Nigerian youths to work hard and never allow poverty to make them lose focus, Ridwan Scorpion disclosed that he suffered many rejections, disappointments, shame in life before he was lucky to be picked in the city of Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State while working as an Okada rider by his promoter and manager, Mr Sola Ayodele.
Speaking further, he also stated that he once considered abandoning the boxing profession because of the hardship he faced at the amateur level, disclosing that he had to beg to survive.
According to him, “ I suffered terribly as an amateur. You know, it was very difficult to survive. But then, I was good enough and I easily qualified to represent Oyo State at different annual festivals and at championships.
“In those days, you must go to work. Nobody cared how you survived. Most of the times, I would trek from Total Garden to the Lekan Salami Stadium at Adamasingba to resume duties at the Sports Council. If you do not go to work, you would be paid half of your monthly stipend. Most of the times, I would beg people to buy food for me”.
Reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s congratulatory message when he won his boxing bout, Scorpion said he was very delighted and happy, adding that “such recognitions would spur him to achieve more successes in life..
The champion used the occasion to disclose that his parents are now happy with his success story despite the rejection and disapproval at the beginning of his career.
“Many times, my father used to beat me to discourage me from pursuing a career in the boxing profession. Luckily there was a day that I participated in a bout organised by some politicians in 2007 and it was shown on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) television and my younger brother drew the attention of my father to it when it was being broadcast, and my father saw what was happening on the television – he saw me fighting on the screen. He stopped discouraging me as from that day.
“That singular discovery made him to change his mind and he is always happy whenever he his referred to as Daddy Scorpion because of my success story”, he said
The 23-year-old boxing champion, however charged aspiring sportsmen to be disciplined, focused and to be resolute in the face of opposition while assuring them that sport is now lucrative.
“You must be ready to pay your dues. You must be ready to weather the storms that will threaten to chase you and discourage you from achieving your dreams. You must be prayerful too. You must remain focused because the future is ours.”
Scorpion, who made these revelations during the week in Ibadan while featuring on Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio along side his promoter, Sola Ayodele ‘Ford’ , further encouraged Nigerian youths to combine hard work and prayer , reassuring them that God still rewards hard work. “It is better to trust God; I never knew I could be a world champion”.
He used the opportunity to dispel the notion widely held by people that all boxers are touts. He stated that the boxing profession is a noble, lucrative profession that youths should venture into.
The champion also stated that he got his stage name “Scorpion” from his former trainer and coach Mr Ajibola who has trained and produced many professional boxers who are technically good.
He disclosed that he adopted the name “Scorpion” to encourage his trainer who suffered in the profession and was not rewarded by the authorities.
He said “I decided to adopt the name to encourage and spur my trainer to return to the ring when I wanted to turn professional. I wanted to achieve success through the name so as to encourage him and bring him back to the ring. Through my success story, I am happy that he is back today as a well-respected trainer.
Also commenting , the promoter of the boxer, Mr Sola Ayodele ‘Ford’ disclosed how he discovered the world boxing champion.
According to the promoter, he was lucky to meet Ridwan Scorpion, an ‘okada’ operator at the tarmac in Agodi gate, Ibadan where he had gone to purchase some auto spare parts.
He revealed that he got to know that Ridwan was a boxer when another bike man hailed him as a boxer from the opposite direction of the road.
“During the course of our conversation, I asked him if he was a boxer and he responded in the affirmative.
“As we were approaching Bode, my destination, I was curious to ask him how possible is it for him to be a boxer and an Okada man. This was when he revealed to me that it was the Nigerian frustration that made him to become a bike rider. I was later shocked when I saw all the medals he had won in a polythene bag, and I decided to render my little assistance to him”, he narrated.
Fans may return to premier league games from May 17
• as British govt. plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions
Fans could be in English stadiums for the final weekend of the Premier League season and there are hopes Wembley may be packed for the Euro 2020 final under plans to ease coronavirus restrictions unveiled on Monday.
The British government’s roadmap to easing a nationwide lockdown means elite sport will continue behind closed doors until at least May 17.
If there are no setbacks during the implementation of the four-stage plan, crowds of up to 10,000 or 25 percent of seated capacity, whichever is lower, will be allowed to return.
The Premier League season is due to finish on May 23. Other than a small number of matches played in front of 2,000 spectators late last year, the entire 2020/21 season has been played behind closed doors.
All further restrictions would then be lifted on June 21 in time for a series of major sports events in England.
The semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, which has been delayed by a year due to the pandemic, are scheduled to take place at Wembley from July 6 to 11.
Wimbledon, which was abandoned in 2020 for the first time since World War II, is due to start on June 28.
Golf’s British Open runs from July 15 to 18 at Royal St George’s in Kent.
Monday’s announcement is the first big step towards restoring normal life, nearly a year after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the first of three stay-at-home orders that have devastated the country and its economy.
Johnson told MPs that with a mass vaccination programme easing pressure on overstretched hospitals, “the end really is in sight”.
A Sunday Times report at the weekend said Britain could offer to host more Euro 2020 matches or the whole tournament due to the potential for crowds to return earlier than in other countries across Europe.
On top of the semi-finals and final, Wembley and Hampden Park in Glasgow are due to host four matches each in the group stages and last 16.
UEFA has so far publicly insisted it is sticking to the original plan of using 12 host cities across the continent despite the logistical challenges.
Dublin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg, Bilbao, Munich, Budapest, Baku, Rome and Bucharest are all due to host matches.
However, British health secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday he was unaware of any offer to host the tournament.
Hancock told Sky News: “I haven’t seen anything on that, I understand that that’s not right.”
FG to restore Liberty stadium’s lost glory, Sports Minister assures
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has given the assurances that the Muhammadu Buhari -led federal government is determined to turn around infrastructural facilities at the first stadium in Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo Stadium complex, Ibadan popularly known as Liberty stadium, to enhance sports development in the country.
The stadium, originally named Liberty Stadium until 2010, is a historic football stadium with a capacity of 25,000 seats.
Opened in 1960 during the tenure of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was serving as the Premier of the Western Region at the time, the sports monument, sited at the Southern end of Ibadan was named Liberty Stadium in honor of Nigeria’s independence.
Unfortunately, the iconic stadium which has hosted several matches during the African Cup of Nations, the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship among others and produced biggest sports stars is now a shadow of itself ; and decreased in vivacity.
The monument, built with public funds by direct labour under the supervision of the regional Ministry of Works and Transport has suffered several neglect from various administrations. The first stadium in Nigeria is in deplorable state and currently on its knees begging for a total deliverance.
However, the Minister, who gave the assurance on Saturday in Ibadan while playing guest to the South West Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP) at a two-day seminar for online media held at the Ilaji Hotel and Resorts, also disclosed that the government is set to revive the agelong stadium through Private Public Partnership (PPP).
While citing government efforts at National Stadium, Lagos and others, Dare unearthed that there is an ongoing plan to reach out to some Nigerians to invest in the infrastructural development of the stadium.
He further disclosed that the federal government, in addition to providing needed incentives to private investors, is currently developing a policy that will support value in sports investment.
Bayern Munich’s striker, Mueller tests positive for COVID-19
Thomas Mueller, Bayern Munich forward has tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to German media reports.
Mueller is set to miss out on Thursday’s Club World Cup final in Doha due to this development.
Sky Sports Germany and Bild newspaper disclosed that the World Cup winner, Mueller tested positive after Bayern’s training session on Wednesday.
A positive test would rule the veteran striker out of Thursday’s clash with Mexican CONCACAF champions Tigres in the Qatari capital, in which European champions Bayern are aiming for a historic sixth title in 12 months.
Neither Bayern nor tournament organisers FIFA have yet confirmed the positive test.
Mueller would be the third Bayern player to contract the coronavirus in recent weeks, after positive tests for Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka meant they were unable to travel with the rest of the squad to Qatar.
His absence would be the latest blow to Bayern’s Club World Cup campaign, after Jerome Boateng returned home to Germany on Wednesday for personal reasons amid reports that his former girlfriend had died.
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