Larry Ekundayo

Most people will be familiar with Larry Ekundayo from his Prizefighter victory on Sky in 2012.  Dazzling his way to victory with slick defensive skills and rapier offence, Larry's first match up was only his third pro fight.  By the time he picked up the winners cheque, he was up to 5-0 on his pro record.  But this wasn't the start of Larry's career.  In fact at 29, he was now fighting in his adopted homeland - Larry represented Nigeria through his amateur career, representing his home nation at the Commonwealth Games.   He has taken part in 4 ABA competitions, matching his Commonwealth achievements of reaching the quarter finals.
 
Larry was left waiting for his pro debut until international work clearance was provided.  He wasted no time - with the paperwork complete on 5th February 2012 he he made his professional debut a month later, stopping Ben Deghani (1-5-0) in 3 rounds.
 
He carried the moniker of 'Natural' to the ring.  The name was bestowed upon him by Kieran Burns in the gym, when Larry's slick abilities were picked out while sparring a partner two weights above his own.
 
"They saw what I could do in the ring and were impressed with it.  It was good sparring.  Kieran came over and said 'You're so natural' and it stuck" Larry tells me.
 
Natural he is.  Search for any of Larry's fights and you get treated to an exhibition of bobbing, weaving, ducking - the art of hitting without being hit.  "My mum told me when she found out when I started boxing it's for ugly people because they have nothing to lose.  I wanted to avoid being hit in the face, I'm not going to be one of the ugly ones". 
 
"I was watching Prizefighter back - I'm proud of myself.  I hope everything goes well for me in my career but regardless, I have achieved so much.  My oldest daughter was born premature, she had a 40-50% chance of  survival.  That was two days after my mum died.  To go through all of that and manage to win Prizefighter I am happy to have achieved so much"
 
But his ambitions didn't stop at Prizefighter.  Larry's last fight was in March of this year, taking on the talented Dale Evans (9-1-2) .  He stopped Evans in the 5th round.  "Dale Evans is a very, very good kid.   It was a good stoppage.  He's a true champion, he got up after that and beat a good name, it shows his quality as a fighter."

The fight was officially a British Title eliminator, but due to Larry being born in Nigeria he is ineligible to fight for the belt.  Good news then for the likes of Sam Eggington, Matchroom's Birmingham prospect currently being steered towards the Lonsdale.  But Larry is confident that fight can still be made.  "He's got the Commonwealth.  I'm sure at one point we will be fighting, we're both going in the same direction."
Larry Ekundayo
Larry recently changed his promotional deal, with his contract expiring with Spencer Fearon they mutually parted ways and Larry joined up with Steve Goodwin of Goodwin Promotions.  "Even though he's no longer my Manager he's still somebody to me, he's still in my life.  He's been with me since day dot, when I was an amateur he was putting my name out there.  He's a good man - apart from talking in his sleep.  That's why they call him Motor Mouth!!"

Under his new deal with Goodwin Promotion the plans are bright.  A fight was in place on the 13th June for the IBF African International title.  It fell through when the opponent was pulled out for an unknown reason.  "At the moment I'm just ticking over, hoping I get a date soon.  I'm training but not 100% - I'm lucky because I have the sponsors now.  I used to have to stop training and go straight back to work, but now it's not a problem".

There may be no solid plans at present for Larry, but in a bubbling domestic scene containing the like of Eggington,  Skeete and Gavin, Larry is well placed to make big waves.  His ambitions don't stop at domestic level - he talks about Kell Brook being a target within the next 12 months.

Now that the challenging times appear to be behind him and with the promotional guidance of Steve Goodwin alongside his Special Adviser Ben Gray, we can expect to see "Natural" blossoming on the biggest stages by 2016. 
 
Larry wanted to pass on his special thanks to his sponsors ArikAir, Union Bank of Nigeria, Organo Gold & Boxfit.