By Wayne Bartlett: Larry ‘The Natural’ Ekundayo is the latest Prizefighter champion after dazzling his way to the light middleweight trophy and winners’ cheque of £32,000 at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.
After a ten year long battle with immigration following a passport mix up after representing Nigeria in the 2002 Commonwealth games, the future now looks bright for the 30-year-old after besting Craig McEwan, Kris Carslaw and Terry Carruthers.
Despite entering Prizefighter an unknown with a 2-0(1) record, Ekundayo soon showed why many regarded the Hackney fighter as a dark horse for the tournament when disposing of pre-tournament favourite Craig McEwan in the opening quarter final.
Now himself installed as tournament favourite following the defeat of McEwan, Ekundayo reached the final after out-boxing another Scotsman, Kris Carslaw.
Carslaw, who was fortunate to get the nod over Ryan Toms in his opening bout, just couldn’t get to grips with his skilful 30-year-old foe as he dropped a clear unanimous decision.
In a battle of crowd favourites, ‘The Natural’ left no doubt as to the victor in the final as he outpunched and outclassed Carruthers, who had thrown everything but the kitchen sink to claim a semi final win over Nav Mansouri.
Having used the same method to see off Peter Vaughan in his opening bout, Carruthers wasn’t allowed the same success in the final.
After two one sided rounds the third was going the same way until a hard hook and right hand stiffened the Birmingham man by the ropes and sought the referee’s intervention with half a minute to go.
In a new addition to the tournament, Ekundayo also picked up an extra £2000 for his stoppage of Terry Carruthers, in what was the final round of the tournament.
With the secret well and truly out regarding the precocious talent of the Nigerian born box puncher, promoter and friend Spencer Fearon said of Ekundayo:
“We’re going to drop down to welterweight and great things are going to happen.”
Judging by tonight’s performances, you better believe it.
Full Prizefighter results:
QF 1 - Larry Ekundayo W Pts SD Craig McEwan
QF 2 – Kris Carslaw W Pts SD Ryan Toms
QF 3 – Terry Carruthers W Pts UD Peter Vaughan
QF 4 – Nav Mansouri W Pts SD Curtis Valentine
SF 1 – Larry Ekundayo W Pts UD Kris Carslaw
SF 2 – Terry Carruthers W Pts SD Nav Mansouri
Final – Larry Ekundayo W TKO RD3 Terry Carruthers