The first son of late Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Alaafin of Oyo, Prince Israel Adeyemi, has revealed how Oyo Mesi stopped the pugilist monarch from boxing.
Prince Adeyemi, in an interview with NIGERIAN TRIBUNE disclosed that the late monarch’s ascension to the throne did not end his boxing career.
The professional boxer turned first-class king, according to his son, created a boxing ring in a lush area within the palace which they call ‘Garden’ after he became king.
“He would invite boxers to come and spar with him. The Oyo Mesi and the townspeople felt so bad about this. They wondered how somebody would be pummeling their Oba. They had to beg him to stop boxing: ‘We can’t take it, watching you, in your high esteem, getting punched. Kabiyesi, please, stop’. And grudgingly, he stopped.”
Speaking about the late monarch’s career as a boxer, the first son revealed that “He was a professional boxer and he never lost any bout. They called him ‘Slumber Boy’. I asked him what that meant and he said, ‘I put them to sleep’. He loved boxing. I think the reason he developed interest in boxing was what he passed through and that was the only way he could vent his anger.
“And he really pummeled his opponents. You know, as a young lad, he faced so many vicissitudes of life. He struggled through life. I sat him down sometimes and we talked. He was once a cook. He used to do odd jobs. He said in Isale-Eko, before a shop closed, he would stay there and when they closed, in the shop he would sleep. Those things toughened him.”
“But when he celebrated his 70th birthday, he had a boxing exhibition, and he boxed. I was there. He organised a boxing tournament. There was a video of him which went viral. He went to Adamasingba (Sports Complex) in Ibadan to box. So, it had always been boxing but he reduced it. Ask anybody in Oyo: he would wake up early in the morning and do road work around the city centre. Because of the security implication, he stopped, but he still went to the stadium and did his boxing, his exercise.”