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Senegalese Wrestling: Will Eumeu Defend Crown Against Modou Lo?

Will Eumeu defend Crown against Modou Lo?

Will Eumeu Sene retain his King of Arena title is the million-pound question on everyone’s lips.

This month last year, Eumeu upset the odds to size up a mammoth Bombardier –the torment of virtually all wrestlers in the Senegalese arena – snatching the crown off the Mbour-born’s grips in the process.

Bombardier had ruled and sent shiver down spines of A-list combatants during his reign as the sport’s Field Marshall.

He clutched the prize from Balla Gaye in 2014 in what was his second time after the first came in his controversial triumph based on refereeing decision over Mohamed Ndao Tyson, then a darling of the crowd and the man credited for the transformation of the art to a multi-million dollar sport.

Now 42, Bombardier went ahead to retain his crown against a tricky Modou Lo whom most had hoped he would lose to in no time. He survived that hurdle, getting battered and bruised in the face but wrapped up the show spanking Modou Lo, in an encounter pundits suggested Bombardier had never deployed this much caution. The opponent he faced perhaps required that.

Hailing from a family of fishermen and christened Serigne Ousmane Dia, Bombardier would agree to rub shoulders with a revived Eumeu Sene whose stock had risen following a rematch emphatic whacking of Balla Gaye in a rematch 2015.

Dia’s deal with Sene was more than a protracted affair. Growing distraught over the promoter’s inability to secure a fixed date for the fight coalesced with a venue problem confronting Senegalese wrestling at the moment, the fight was close to being annulled amid threats by both wrestlers to pull out of the contest with December 25th 2017 then given as the deadline.

It didn’t happen. Sensing his brand risk incurring not only monetary losses but the wrath of the CNG –the sport’s governing committee –the promoter reignited interest in the fight by reimbursing both wrestlers for expenses incurred during the cause of the prolongation.

At last, it took place in July 2018 and the outcome left a good section of Mbour fans weeping as the giant of the arena –Bombardier –lost in dramatic but shocking circumstances.

His facial expression in the immediate aftermath of the game summed up the sheer disbelief etched on his face.

“What happened?” he rhetorically asked his deflated entourage who solemnly replied: “Just believe, you’re a champion.”

Then it sank in.

Prior to this, Serigne Dia broke away from tradition to compete in the UFC heavyweight division in Switzerland, stripping compatriot Rock Balbao of his belt.

Meaning, he went into the combat with Eumeu richer in cash and buoyed up.

Eumeu instigated the fight as a provoked Bombardier went for him unleashing torrents of blows. One landed on his head which momentarily appeared to have blinded him somewhat as he staggered backwards but recuperated fully in time to feign a dive beneath his adversary before pulling out on the sides.

Being a mammoth figure, Bombardier thought he had gotten his craving –exacting his weight on his tiny-like opponent but when Eumeu dived, he went landing on all fours as Sene grabbed him by the backside burying him in the sands.

Cacophonous jubilation then erupted across the stadium stands with Eumeu confirmed champion after a decade and a half in the game.

Photo: Eumeu shocked and stripped Bombardier of the crown last year this month.

Photo: Eumeu shocked and stripped Bombardier of the crown last year this month.

However, this Sunday, he’ll be out defending his title for the first time up against Modou Lo, a box tricks in a revenge match. Sene bit the dust humiliatingly in their first meeting. Parcellese-based Lo tormented Eumeu who ran out of steam before bundling him by grabbing him by the waist. That epic defeat is still replayed over TV and Eumeu is hurt by it prompting his initiative to accept a rematch with his title on the line.

Interestingly, the Tay Shinger and former Club Bul Faaleh stalwart has never lost twice to a wrestler. A previous revenge bloodied duel with Gris Bordeaux had him declared the winner.

Sene piled on the weight in the first face-off with Lo, counting on grabbing and lifting his opponent. In the end, his conditioning betrayed him, too exhausted to fight on.

Modou Lo observed this and made it work to his favour.

So What Is Eumeu Intent On Doing?

This is a question only Eumeu and his representatives including trainers could provide an answer to. But his fighting pattern is unmistakable. Thriving at a second chance requires self-critiquing, regrouping and righting the wrongs of the past. You’d expect he will do this. Judging by his recent footage, he looks to have maintained his form versus Bombardier, focusing more on flexibility to match the adversary’s agility. This should get him somewhere but it’s unclear whether his boxing prowess has improved given that he faces a quick punching pugilist (mind boxing is a big part of Senegambian wrestling). He landed no punches in his previous fight and tends to wait for a knockout but when he does hit, the impact could be precarious. He swings both hands in parallel but at the same time in rapid succession.

However, there is a question of the little gap he tends to leave without protecting his face each time he goes to aim for a shot which Modou, being good at body shots and combinations, could wholly exploit.


A Coalition To Rely On

The sport in the West African country is being greeted by a new phenomenon of wrestlers forming a coalition. This is usually wrestlers based in the same city. The one crown holder Eumeu belongs to is dubbed Pikine Union, prominent among them being fast-rising Ama Balde and Boy Niang.

Wrestlers forming these unions have gotten criticised for closing down the arena by their partnership. This though comes with an advantage- support coming in handy when one from among the group is tied down to a contract. Back up was offered to Boy Niang in his defeat to Lac2. It is now Eumeu’s turn and the aid on his side is enormous. In Ama and Boy Niang, he has more than enough training partners to help in regards to contact and drills. His opponent Modou Lo has sort of a striking resemblance with Ama in fighting and this should be a useful addition for Sene.

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