Olanrewaju Durodola became the new ABU Cruiserweight champion with a third-round TKO over Abraham Tabul of Ghana at the Old Kingsway Building in Accra, Ghana.
Returning to same venue where he won a third-round TKO against Vikapita Meroro of Namibia in November 2019, Nigeria’s Durodola (33-7, 30 KOs) said he set out to make quick work of his opponent.
“I did not want the fight to go the distance since I was fighting a guy ten years younger than me in front of his home fans, so I used my experience and the referee stopped the fight to save him from further punishment,” he told BoxingAfrica.com.
“He talked so much ahead of the fight, so I needed to silence him and am happy I did it even though he was not happy after the referee stopped the fight,” Durodola continued. “But it was his corner that asked the referee to stop the fight when they saw the kind of punishment their fighter was being subjected to.”
Ranked eighth by the WBC, Durodola believes the ABU title is a new beginning as he explores available options to move up the rankings and brighten his chances of fighting for a world title.
“Winning the ABU title means a lot to me as I would want to use it as a springboard to climb the rankings moving forward,” he explained.
Durodola has held several titles since turning pro in 2011, WBC Continental Americas, WBC silver title, WBO Africa title, WBF World title and in May 2019, he fought and lost the vacant Republic of Poland International cruiser weight title to Poland’s Michal Cieslak.
“Every lesser title I am fighting for, whether winning or losing is tailored towards fighting for a major world title and I will never rest till I achieve it,” said Durodola. “I know that I’m not that young anymore, but age is just a number. It’s one’s mindset that matters.
“I have not made the kind of name I want to make and I can only make such name becoming the World Champion in one of the four major bodies, I have made some money to take care of myself and my family but the big money is in being a world champion and I want the world to know my name like Evander Holyfield, Lenox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Pacman etc.”
Durodola won the WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title in 2013 against Victor Barragan, who retired in the fourth. He defended it five times.
In 2015, he captured the WBC Silver cruiserweight belt with a second-round TKO over Dmitry Kudryashov, but also lost two other challenges for that same title, one to Kudryashov and another to Maksim Vlasov.
“I keep fighting for the WBC silver title, because as you know, when you have the silver then you are so close to the main title shot,” said Durodola. “That’s why I kept fighting for that title. I won it in 2015 and moved up to number two in rankings but lacked the promoter to push me for the main title.”
Winning a title brings a boxer recognition and that’s what the serving police officer is craving for.
“When I won the WBC silver title, I was recognized back home and promoted to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in the Nigerian Police and when the Inspector General (IG) took me to present the title to President Muhammadu Buhari, the President gave me N1.5m and that incentive spurred me on. I was recognized because I won that title and so I need the bigger attention which will only come when I win the big one,” said Durodola.
Durodola currently on a four-fight win streak since his loss to Cieslak in May 2019.
“I want to fight anyone above me in the WBC rankings at the moment especially Michal Cieslak whom I lost the vacant Republic of Poland International Cruiser Title to in 2019, Thabiso Mchunu of South Africa who beat me to the NABF title in 2014 as well as Krszysztof Wlodarczyk who beat me in 2018,” said Durodola. “I want to fight these boxers again as I want to be number-one contender which is not rated at the moment.
“I have started year 2020 well by winning the African title and I look forward to where I will be in next rankings, hopefully up to number five and then I want to continue winning. My next fight might be in April or May. All I want is three more fights this year and win all and then I will be challenging for the title in 2021. I pray for the best in year 2020.”
Durodola, who fights out of Kansas City in the USA, is adamant that he still has some time left in his career at 39 years old and strongly hopes he will achieve his dreams and more.
“I give myself five more years and, in those five years, I want to fight at cruiserweight for the next two years and win the world title and then step up to heavyweight and try making name for myself in that weight category too.
“I know that in the next five years, I will be able to achieve all these: world title, fame and money.”
–Ralph Chidozie George, Twitter: @ralphcgeorge