Connect with us


Senegalese Wrestling: Ex-Senegalese King Of Arena Retires at 42

Fans may never see Yékini in the capacity of a wrestler again after he called time on his wrestling career.

The Saloum-born is a revered personality in the sport and is one of few old guards of the trade today strongly credited for the professionalization of wrestling two decades back.

His emergence came at a time when wrestling was viewed by a paltry turnout of fans and wrestlers get paid pittance as match wage.

Different from the conventional art of wrestlers grabbing each other’s smalls in a bout of strict technique popular across Africa, Senegalese wrestling is a treasured national sport demanding of severe boxing aside from kicking.

Christened Yakhya Diop, Yékini will go on to help the sport’s rise with his fights winning the attention of chunk of companies who would chip in as event sponsors in a move that has not only reignite people’s love for the ancient art but accelerate its growth, dislodging football from its perch as the nation most favoured sport.

Today a single combat in a year can yield top wrestlers of the arena up to $200,000 courtesy of years of tireless lobbying by fight promoters and the Senegalese Wrestling Federation using Yekini as poster boy in their marketing endeavors.

So popular is Senegalese “Borreh Dorr” –wrestling mixed with punching – that a grand combat could , according to statistics, rake up million plus views from abroad with the biggest audience coming from the continent.

There wouldn’t be a mention of this fast rising sport without a distinctive elaboration of the flurry of feats attained by this mammoth giant.

Diop is the sole wrestler, from the Serre, a tribe of fisher folks, to go on a stretch of 17 years without tasting defeat scooping the Ecowas wrestling championship title in the process.

His grandest achievement to date in a glittering career is clutching the King Of Arena, a crown he snatched off Bombardier’s grip in a rambunctious battle – a man he would later beat on three occasions before defending the gong against a much fancied Mohammed Ndao Tyson.

Nicknamed after Nigeria’s former footballer Rashid Yekini, Yakhya’s dominance brought the world’s attention to a little known Jaol, a village in south-east of Dakar.

However like any a mortal super-star, Yekni has his low moments and it is for such hitches that would force him into honorably retiring at 42.


Courtesy of Rewmi

A title reign brought to an abrupt end by a high-flying Lion of Guediawaye Balla Gaye, shooed Yekini on the path of retirement. That battle in 2012, described as ‘best fight of the last decade’ saw Diop beaten on his game –dragged, flipped and sent packing with back first on the ground.

That was his first lost in 17years inflicted on him by an opponent 15 years his junior and whose father he gladly dispatched off effortlessly in the days traditional wrestling was beginning to take root in Dakar.

Left shocked and exasperated, the man from Jaol took a 4 years sabbatical – a self-imposed exile taken primarily to take stock of the latest blip in his career.

A return against Lac De Guier2 July 24 2016, aimed at re-launching his career proved a spectacular failure with Yekini losing again.

And aware of the risk involved in battling younger wrestlers which could, should he continues to endure loses, potentially bring his reputation to tatters, Yekini decided to call time on his career.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Every beginning must come to an end,”[/perfectpullquote]

the former King Of the Arena said yesterday afternoon in a press conference aired by SenTV.

“I thank everyone in the arena, former wrestlers and younger wrestlers in the arena. I, Yekini, have today decided to retire and I only have God to thank for it,’

He might have amassed wealth but Yekini will surely be remembered as one of the game’s greats.


Featured Photo: Courtesy of leuz tv


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Wrestling

Translate »