2004 won his most notable fight to defend his North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title
against Courtney Burton
Has a record of 22 wins, 14 by way of knockout, and two losses
Tanked as a top ten contender by all major boxing organizations
Married, two children
Ebo Elder: The Gospel Gladiator
The 700 Club
Ebo Elder is known as "The X-treme Machine" on ESPN's second season of The Contender. He has enjoyed a long amateur career with 139 wins before turning professional in 2000. Ebo himself says he is not the typical world class fighter. He's small and from all outward accounts, doesn't look like he'd be vying for a world class fighter title. But Ebo knows that God sees Ebo's heart and sees his willingness to work hard.
Ebo has been boxing all of his life and knows that this is God's plan for his life. He was raised in a Christian family. Ebo's father did some amateur fighting, and at two years old, Ebo was hitting heavy bags. When he was ten years old, he started boxing competitively.
He received his opportunity to be one of the sixteen welterweight boxers to compete on The Contender in late 2005. From his landmark fight with Courtney Burton in 2004, Ebo was now entitled to the world title fight. He was scheduled to fight Juan Diaz, but Diaz cancelled. Later Ebo found out Diaz didn't want to fight Ebo unless he fought and won against another contender, Lavka Simm. After a close fight, Ebo lost to Simm in the final round.
Ebo tried to gain back his status, but continued to lose more fights. Discouraged and in doubt, Ebo questioned God if He still wanted him to fight. Ebo then took a construction job in Florida that his friend offered him. While he was in Florida, producers for The Contender contacted him and asked if he would be interested in being on the show. Ebo's wife, Amy, thought he should do the show. Ebo agreed and told ESPN he would do it. The show has finished taping, but now Ebo is training to fight again. He is not allowed to divulge the results, but four of the contestants can be voted back on the show by viewers to compete for the final fight on September 26, 2006. Overall, Ebo's goal is to become a world champion fighter so he will have a greater platform to give glory to God.
In Ebo's amateur career he banged out a 125-12 record and earned the Silver Medal at the 1998 Goodwill Games. But after a motorcycle accident two weeks before the Olympic trials, his 2000 Olympic dream was shattered, so at 21 years old, Ebo set out to embark on a professional career.
In June 2000, Ebo won his pro debut with a first round knock out over Jason Thompson at the Fox Theater in Detroit Michigan and fought out a perfect 7-0 (4) record for his rookie season, stopping three of his opponents in the opening round. He continued to win fights and in 2001 stepped in to defeat Jaime Morales for the IBO (International Boxing Organization) Continental light welterweight title. Two months later, Ebo won the WBO (World Boxing Organization) Intercontinental super lightweight title in front of the ‘ShoBox: The New Generation’ crowd with a sixth round technical decision over Dagoberto Najera. This fight ranked him in the top 10 fighters. After 16 straight victories Ebo fought veteran Ubaldo Hernandez. In the first round, Ebo fell to a devastating defeat. After the loss, Ebo was stripped of his ranking, became estranged from his manager/father Greg Elder and quit boxing.
Ebo learned a great lesson from the Hernandez fight. Ebo says God was teaching him that God wouldn't be mocked. Ebo was doing things on his own strength and thought he had "done enough" for God. God taught him humility and showed that it wasn't about what Ebo did, but what God did. Also, God showed that we are never worthy on our own and we need God's forgiveness and grace.
After letting God take control of his life and patching up the torn relationships with his father and others, Ebo found a new perspective on life and got back to boxing about two years later. Ebo returned to the ring and on January 2004 made his victorious return with a third round stoppage over Tyrone Wiggins. He fought six more fights and all were victories, including four knockouts and one thrilling showdown against Courtney Burton.
With the second of these six fights against Oscar Diaz, Ebo learned another great lesson of faith. He only had 19 days to prepare for his match with Oscar Diaz, and trainers wanted him to move up two weight classes. But Ebo didn't have any doubt that he would win. He realized faith limitations served as barriers to victory – when he had faith he was victorious.
He also doesn't look at faith as a scale, but something you have or you don't. He gives the example of pregnancy – a woman can't be partially pregnant, she either is or she isn't. The same with faith and doubt, you either have one or the other.
A GREAT MATCH
On December 17, 2004, Ebo fought in his most notable fight before competing in the second season of The Contender. He requested to fight Courtney Burton. Ebo felt that God preordained the fight for Ebo to win, so Ebo didn't have any doubt that God would be with him. Ebo had a list of fighters, and Courtney was the best fighter on that list that didn't happen to be a world champion. Ebo says he was the underdog in the fight, because Burton was bigger and had a reach advantage. People didn't believe he could fight Burton. The fight started rough and by the second round, Ebo wanted to quit. But he felt like God said if Ebo wouldn't quit, and if he would go ten more rounds, He would do what Ebo couldn't. The 10 rounds left Ebo severely beaten, his eyes were swollen shut and he received multiple blows to the head. In the final round, Ebo thought he would be going down. He even got his glove caught in the ropes. Then Ebo cried out to God, and it seemed like he got a surge of energy. Ebo won by a knockout and prayed for Burton who was injured badly. Millions of people heard Ebo's prayer for Burton.
MAN WITH A MISSION
Ebo has a unique platform to spread the gospel through his career in boxing. He's been called "The Gospel Gladiator" because of the direct way he shares his faith through his experiences in the ring. Ebo has learned God's faithfulness, obedience, perseverance, and endurance. The big lessons he's learned and has to share is that God will do what we can't and it's all for His glory. Ebo believes, like David and Goliath or Daniel in the lion's den, that God has a predestined calendar for us and what He has for us to do. Ebo believes his fight with Burton was one of those dates.
Another testimony of Ebo's comes out of the restoration of his marriage. He and his wife, Amy, married three weeks after graduating high school. They were married for 1 ½ year. Ebo says God had a call on both of their lives, but they weren't obedient or willing to pay the price for it at that time. They divorced and stayed apart for 1 ½ year. During their time apart, not only did Ebo turn away from his wife, but he also turned away from God. He tried to turn to everything but God to make him happy, like drugs and alcohol and other women. Then he came to a point where he wanted to obey God. After that time, Ebo reconciled with his wife and God. He decided not to let anything come between him and God.
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