Nigeria’s Efe Ajagba failed to advance to the semi-final of the Rio 2016 super heavyweight +91kg boxing event, after losing 3-0 to Ivan Fyodorovich Dychko from Kazakhstan, by a unanimous points decision on Tuesday.
Mr. Ajagba scored a total of 28 points, while his Kazakhstani opponent, ranked number two in the world, scored 29 points.
Mr. Ajagba failed to impress like he did in the first bout against Trinidadian boxer Nigel Paul, but it was a different experience, following his inability to win a single round out of the three rounds in the quarter-final bout.
He mentioned that Mr. Dychko’s giant size put him at a disadvantage.
“This is the first time I am fighting a boxer who is taller and bigger than me. And he kept moving away. He did not allow me to deliver a devastating punch,” Mr. Ajagba said.
“I wanted the knockout in all my fights so as to leave nothing to chance. But the further you go in the competition the more skillful your opponents are and the more difficult it becomes to put them away,” he added.
Despite his defeat, Mr. Ajagba had nothing but praise for his coach, Mr. Anthony Konyegwachie.
“I had only one coach when other boxers had three coaches. My coach was my pillar. He did a lot for me, fasting and praying. I thank him but I have to move up to the professional ranks. I have a bigger future in professional boxing,” he said at the mixed-zone.
Mr. Konyegwachie apologized for Mr. Ajagba’s loss saying, “We promised a knockout before the fight but it did not go that way. I am sorry. His opponent was also a tough boxer and ranked number two. No excuses, he was a better boxer of the night. I only need to apologize to millions of Nigerians who waited and prayed for our success.”
Similar to the sentiments expressed by other athletes, he blamed inadequate preparation for the loss of Mr. Ajagba.
“He is the only boxer brought here by Nigeria. The weight was too heavy on him. He had no sparring partner and we did not come with anyone. He trained alone. Ajagba is a good boxer. If he had everything to prepare, it wouldn’t have ended this way. All the same, I apologize to Nigerians and pray for better preparation next time.”
The Delta State-born Ajagba was the only boxer that represented Nigeria in boxing at the Summer Olympic Games after nine other boxers failed to qualify during the Olympic qualifying tournament in Yaoundé, Cameroon early in the year.