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A 12–year Search for the Crown: Modou Lo Ventures Into Familiar Territory

A 12–year search for the crown: Modou Lo ventures into familiar territory

19 victories in 23 combats with a mere three defeats and a solitary stalemate are impressive statistical standings not even the current King of the arena can boast of.

And in each of those meetings, Modou had been tipped to lose. But unperturbed, he’d emerged unscathed each time, humbling giants bigger than his size. However, he remains one of the most underrated, arguably for his diminutively built figure in the Senegalese A-list arena.

He crosses daggers with the sport’s crown bearer in Eumeu Sene this Sunday whom he had beaten before and has a more prepossessing standing.

Majority wrestlers with the record Modou has, have been feted once the king of the game.

It’s incredible how the Parcelles-based has still not laid hands of the gong. His first shot at the title was in 2014 against Bombardier- a fixture he lost- his second career defeat after a four-year unbeaten stretch.

That combat the only thing Modou has not done is gnash his teeth into his opponent’s flesh as one pundit puts it, suggesting Lo did all the fighting and rightly so.

Dubbed Kharange, translated as smart and tricky in local Wolof dialect, Modou made a majority of the moves: pushing, provoking, battling and bruising his towering gigantic opponent who sustained a nasty cut around the left eye and had to be attended to by medics.

How he manoeuvred, prolonged the fight and even showed a great deal of resistance by withstanding the weight of Bombardier, the biggest man of the sport when he came clamping down on him, won the 33-year-old the hearts of most despite ending up losing.

Photo: Modou Lo’s sole craving is the arena crown.

Photo: Modou Lo’s sole craving is the arena crown.

Flamboyance and endurance remain his strongest points and spectators will be treated to that enough if the words of both wrestlers in the build-up to fight are anything to go by. Both promised to undo the other and not choke fans with a drab affair.

On Sunday, he will be making a second shot at the title this time up against Eumeu Sene as he swerves into familiar territory.

S0, What Happened In Their Last Meeting?

It was on a rainy weekend sometime back in 2011 when Lo put Eumeu to the guillotine. The latter still broods over what happened in that run in. It first began with the accusation by Eumeu that Modou Lo had uttered uncomplimentary remarks to his mother, an allegation the Parcelles-based star denied. In the formalities before their combat after dousing in their mystical concoctions, Eumeu appearing provoked, headed for his opponent snatching one of his knotted jujus and tearing it apart as the referee tried calming the situation.

Reluctantly, Eumeu left his adversary’s designated area. This seems to have been the moment Tay Shinger (a sobriquet for Eumeu) lost his cool.

Observers argued Eumeu’s body mass didn’t favour him up against a very flexible Modou as dozen fainted out of anxiety. The blow of the whistle saw the pair grapple as Lo peppered his foe with body shots as an under-pressure Eumeu retreated which emboldened Lo as he advanced towards him. This somewhat proved the turning point. The arbiter halted the fight urging Eumeu to go check-up with the doctors on the peripheries as he bled around the eye sapping his morale in the process. The restart had Eumeu attempting retaliation throwing a left-hander as they meandered out of the circles prompting the arbiter to part them ordering a return to the centre circle.

A video replay appeared to show Eumeu packing a head-butt but the arbiter gave Modou a warning which represented a deduction for wandering out of the designated fighting area.

Photo: Modou Lo embarrassed current champion Eumeu in their last fight in 2011.

Photo: Modou Lo embarrassed current champion Eumeu in their last fight in 2011.

Eumeu grabbed Modou’s left leg on the resumption but the latter wriggled out of it as the crowd went ballistic. They went back into the centre circle. Grappling was the ensuing action from then on. Lo responded with an attempt to throw him over combining it with a right-hander on the abdomen but Eumeu was resolute. The combat had to be stopped yet again as medics attended to a bleeding Sene.

The duel was one action-packed fight never see before. Eumeu was gasping heavily by now, tucking his hand on Modou’s upper body who held him firmly to the waist. It was then that the unpredicted happened as Lo, reading his adversary’s body language to perfection, spurred to balance him to the left as Eumeu went crashing, back first in the sands defeated amid a thunderous roar from the crowd.

Euemu’s fans were left gobsmacked, head in hands in apparent sheer disbelief or denial.

The security were gingered to action helping stewards and medics attend to faint hearts collapsing up in the stands. Eumeu cried on the shoulders of his entourage as he was helped to his feet.

What Do We Expect This Time?

The hype around the first match is certainly bigger with the difference being the title at stake. Eumeu has only had two fights all being registered triumphs since 2011 and hasn’t tasted a loss in seven years with the exception of 2018 in which he endured a season drought.

The pair spoke tough in their open training session with the press this past Thursday.

Photo: Modou looked sharp in his open-session on Thursday evening.

Photo: Modou looked sharp in his open-session on Thursday evening.

The media is allowed unfettered access during these sessions which each wrestler stages in his hometown reassuring fans of victory.

Eumeu vowed to retain the title insisting the wrongs that blighted his game in the first match won’t be repeated in Sunday’s rematch.

“I am ready to fight him till tomorrow. It is up to him,” he told the press Wednesday evening.

Modou Lo claims he is prepared to lay down his life to finally secure the crown after a 12-year-long search.

“The crown is the only thing I’m left with in my career. I’m more than ever prepared for anything. I’m not seeing this as a rematch. To me, it’s all a new bout and I will beat and rout him,” Lo reassured on a day after Eumeu’s briefing.

Modou goes into the fight on the back of a degrading loss to erstwhile arena king Balla Gaye and knows biting the dust once more means risking dropping a level.

Ten wins, six defeats versus Modou Lo’s nineteen victories and three losses. We will find out who wins this tomorrow evening.

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