By Oladimeji Loko in Rio de Janeiro:
Everything seems to be in favour of Nigeria’ s sole entrant in boxing, Efe Ajagba, as he begins his possible quest for a medal here at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games today (Sunday).
Ajagba fights Trinidad and Tobago’s Paul Nigel in a round of 16 preliminary bout. Both fighters were drawn bye into this round and will have to prove the organisers right.
In just a field of 18 boxers, highly-rated Efe has a lot to do in terms of expectations.
The Nigerian, who finished with gold medals at both the African Games in 2015 and the Olympic qualifying event in Cameroon last April, is rated fifth behind only four boxers – World Boxing Series Season V winner Hrgovic Filip of Croatia, APB circle 1 fighter, Nestor Michal, and German’s Pfizer Erik, another APB fighter.
Current World Champion, Tony Yoke of France, comes fourth in front of the Sapele-born fighter.
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Ajagba had insisted before the games that he had nothing to lose but a lot to gain if he can do well in Rio.
A Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in 2014 when he first represented Nigeria at any international competition, Ajagba has meddled at all his past three international tourneys and doesn’t see why his luck must change now.
“I will do my best as usual,” the tall, ganging fighter answered to a question on expectations from him.
The boxing event is holding at 9,000 capacity Riocentro Pavilion 6 of the sprawling Olympic Park located in Barry De Tijuana district of Rio de Janeiro.