I Almost Gave In To Poverty, My Father’s Beatings-World Boxing Champion

Ridwan Oyekola Scorpion, the Nigerian who just became the new World Boxing Federation (WBF) International Super Featherweight Champion, has said his rise to prominence in the boxing profession was tortuous while describing it as an adventure that turned around his life for the better.

He disclosed that he suffered many rejections, disappointments and shame before he was lucky to be picked in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, while working as an okada rider, by his promoter and manager, Mr Sola Ayodele.

He also stated that he once considered abandoning the boxing profession because of the hardship he faced at the amateur level saying that he had to beg to survive.

Oyekola made the disclosures while featuring on the weekly radio show, Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio’, anchored by Olayinka Agboola and broadcast on Oluyole 98.5FM, Ibadan.

“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,” he said.

In the same vein, the promoter of the boxer, Mr Sola Ayodele (Ford), disclosed how he discovered the world boxing champion who, he said, was then an okada operator at the tarmac at Agodi Hate, Ibadan where he had gone to purchase some auto spare parts.

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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 said.

The boxing champion said he was delighted and happy with the congratulatory message sent to him President Muhammadu Buhari when he won his boxing bout, adding that such recognitions would spur him to achieve more success in life.

The champion disclosed that his parents are now happy with his success story despite the rejection and disapproval at the beginning of his career, adding: “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.

“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.”

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He also encouraged Nigerian youths to combine hard work and prays, reassuring them that God still rewards hard work, adding: “It is better to trust God; I never knew I could be a world champion.”

His promoter, Mr Ayodele, disclosed that the boxing champion would defend his title in six months’ time, while appreciating the Governor Seyi Makinde led-administration and other stakeholders in the state for their supports and roles in ensuring the success of the recently held boxing competition in the state.

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