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WBO Super middleweight championship: Habib Ahmed on the verge of greatness?

The Ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of conflict and controversy. – Dr Martin Luther King Jr. This quote by the legendary Dr King aligns well with the toughness of mind, focus and perseverance of undefeated Ghanaian world title contender Habib Ahmed who challenges Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez for the WBO super middleweight title on Saturday, February 3. His Olympic dreams were quashed some seven years ago ahead of the London 2012 Games after a freak accident. He lifted himself from that low moment and today stands a few days away from ultimate sporting glory.

However, the seeming non-existent buzz about what could be a great day in Ghanaian sports history just reminds me about the day in September 2007 when Joseph Agbeko, quietly shocked the world by defeating the then champion Luis Alberto Perez to win the IBF bantamweight title. There was not much buzz about Agbeko’s involvement in that fight yet he rose to the occasion.

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The same could be said about Ghanaian Habib Ahmed and his almost silent build up to his challenge of the WBO super middleweight champion, Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez on February 3. This comes at a time when the sport is locally seeing a rebirth with certain fight nights and the boxers involved taking centre stage in major conversations. Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe’s ‘win over Caesar Juarez at the Bukom Boxing Arena is still fresh in minds. Added to that is Emmanuel Tagoe’s successful defence of his IBO lightweight title which ended controversially.

But all said and done, the assignment is cut out and must be executed well. Boxers who have risen to this pedestal in world boxing always have stories to tell and the rather reserved Habib has his as well.

The near tragedy

Habib Ahmed has travelled an arduous journey towards this big day in his career and this brings significant memories. Habib’s career was almost cut short in 2011 as he was preparing for the 2012 London Olympic Games but for an intervention by Joy FM. Habib had closed from morning training and was walking from the Accra Stadium to his home in Jamestown which is at least three kilometres far.

Unfortunately, a car knocked him down – his Olympic dream was to be shattered forever. He was ruled out due to a broken hip and was rendered a surgical emergency.

The hip surgery was successful but there were hospital bills that needed to be paid in excess of GHS 1000. So together with the then head of Joy Sports Ernest Koranteng articulated the predicament to our boss at the time, Mr Ekyi Quarm, the Chief Operating Officer Radio and Interactive Media at the Multimedia Group.

Joy FM donates to Habib Ahmed

Photo: Nathaniel Attoh presented cash from Joy Sports and Joy FM to Habib, after his surgery. Looking on are his younger brother and his father (in the background).

He only needed to listen to the story to the point where the need for clearing accumulated hospital bills was articulated. “We will pay the bills,” he said. I immediately followed up on the administrative processes and sent the cash to ease the troubles of the young boxer. He lost his place at the London Olympics but had his career saved.

Turning Pro and the journey through opponents

Following the disappointment of missing the Olympic Games, Habib turned professional and fought on the Africa Golden Gloves Warriors promotion put together by the late Gideon Quartey, a former amateur boxing President in Ghana. Steadily he overcame opponent after opponent most of whom were of his pedigree – novices.

But clearly, Habib was poles above his peers due to his solid experience at amateur level with the national team. He displayed good jabbing skill and a sharp right which always helped his assault on his opponents.

Bout after bout Habib’s skill, a strong punch made a big case for him and where he should be on the boxing ladder. So when he met George Banson for the Ghanaian middleweight title in 2012, he dominated to clinch the belt.

The wins continued and in March of 2017, Habib once again rose to the occasion and outclassed journeyman Philip ‘Sweet’ Pea Kotey to win the WBO Africa Super Middleweight title at the Bukom Boxing Arena.

Unique relationship with Trainer Ofori Asare

Habib has only known Coach Ofori Asare as a main trainer from his childhood through his draft into the national team of Ghana (Black Bombers) to the professional ranks. So the little boy Habib followed his brother to the Wisdom Gym in Central Accra and used to carry the bags. He was so interested that he observed every bit of the activities of his brother and other boxers in the gym.

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Photo: Habib(second from left) with Coach Asare (second from right) and other training members.

One day Coach Asare asked him to stand like boxers do in the ring and he did. That was to start a big bond which we have seen between many boxers and their trainers. Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey and Oko Odamtten, Manny Pacquaio and Freddy Roach and Bernard ‘Executioner’ Hopkins and Nazeem Richardson.

Coach Asare took interest in him and bought him all the goodies from clothes to food. Coach Ofori Asare is also highly respected in Ghana because of his role in churning out many boxers through his work as the longest-serving national boxing team coach. He is the same Ofori Asare who masterminded the defeat of former world light heavyweight contender, Brimah Kamoko, a.k.a Bukom Banku earlier this year.  It will make boxing sense eventually when a win comes for Habib in this destiny-defining bout.

The training Camp

Habib Ahmed has been training for months under the strict supervision of his trainer Ofori Asare. The telepathy between the two is already established as is the case between many boxers and their main trainers. A lot of the gym work has been done from the DG Hathiramani Hall of the Accra Stadium with focus on technique corrections and fine tuning of skill. Considering that the Accra Stadium is within close proximity of the Atlantic Ocean a great amount of conditioning work is done there on the sandy beaches in addition to intensive jogs in the early hours of each training day.

Habib wraps up every day with family time. He joins his wife father and siblings for long hearty conversations. He seems to enjoy this daily ritual which brings him a lot of positive energy. The corner is very much aware of the pacey punching and aggressiveness of the champion and has put in extra work to ensure Ramirez is neutralized as much as possible on Saturday night.

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His opponent –The Champion

Gilberto Ramirez who is a southpaw plays in a big league and has to be given his credit. I fact the odds will be against the Ghanaian boxer considering that Ramirez has seen more ring action and bigger opponents.

Ramirez will lift his guard, bend into his opponents, step forward and launch his attack with “rocket speed” hooks and uppercuts, which are actively supported by his piercing right.

The Mexican also has a good reach advantage which he compliments well with his speed. He effectively saw off many crack opponents including Arthur Abraham, Jesse Hart, Richard Gutierez, Maksim Vlasov and Rogelio Medina.  The Mexican will look forward to another good night when he will make a victim of his Ghanaian opponent.

The coincidence – Most Ghanaian world champions won their titles outside Ghana

Habib has fought 99% of his career before his home fans in Ghana. Some think the lack of variety in physical audiences, could have a psychological effect. But his predecessors have set great examples in this regard.

They displayed incredible mental toughness to absorb the jeers of partisan crowds and rose to the occasion in each scenario. When Africa’s most celebrated boxer Prof Azumah Nelson won the WBC featherweight title for the first time in 1984, it was in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

When Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey won the WBA welterweight title in June 1994, it was in France. When Joshua ’The Heater’ Clottey defeated Zabdiel Judah to win the IBF welterweight title, it was in Nevava, USA. A year before this feat, Clottey’s compatriot Joseph King Kong Agbeko had caused an upset by defeating then champion, Luis Perez to win IBF bantamweight title.

And it was staged in California. So Texas is the venue for this bout of destiny for Habib Ahmed. Texas may not bring the best memories to Ghanaians because Joshua Clottey lost an opportunity to snatch Manny Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight belt before a record crowd (over 50,000 fans) at the Cowboy Stadium in Arlington Texas. But Habib’s strong will, good conditioning, discipline and punch power can help him rewrite the history.

One of Habib Ahmed’s training sessions ahead of the bout. 

 

Akwamumanhene confers ‘Okofo’ title on Dogboe

On January 11, 2018, WBO Interim Super Bantamweight champion and one time Olympic champion Isaac Dogboe paid a courtesy call on Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, Akwamumanhene, at the Bogyawe Palace – Akwamufie.

The visit by Dogboe was to present the title he won against his Mexican opponent, Cesar Juarez, on a fifth-round knock-out a fortnight ago at the Bukom Boxing Arena.

Born on September 26, 1994, Isaac Dogboe has made a name for himself as a professional boxer from the age of 17, taking part in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the UK and qualifying with a silver in the African Olympic qualifying events.

Dogboe is set to face Magdaleno in a bid to become the full WBO World super bantamweight champion.

Akwamumanhene-Dogboe

In recognition of his sterling performance, the Akwamumanhene named the young WBO interim Super Bantamweight Champion, “Okofo” Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe.

Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III advised the young boxer to focus on his career and be mindful of distractions that could potentially derail his ambitions and stall his success.

Elders of the place prayed for the boxer, asking for guidance, protection. and along successful career.

Isaac was accompanied to Bogyawe Palace by members of his family, management and training team.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Deontay Wilder threatens to end Anthony Joshua’s career

WBC heavyweight champion Deontary Wilder has sensationally claimed to ESPN that he will end Anthony Joshua’s boxing career when the two finally meet in the ring.

WBA and IBF champion Joshua is considered the biggest star in the division since dethroning the long-time face of heavyweight boxing in Wladimir Klitschko.

Following on from Joshua’s title defence over Carlos Takam on Oct. 28 and Wilder’s first round stoppage of Bermane Stiverne a week later, talks have begun for a blockbuster unification bout in 2018, with both fighters’ promoters meeting in New York last week.

The pair have begun the verbal jousting with Wilder the latest to bite in an epic rant on ESPN’s Sports Nation program in the U.S.

Anthony Joshua

“Joshua, let’s make this fight happen, man,” Wilder started.

“This is one of the biggest, most exciting fight in the world history. We could make records, we could set history on the time of the fight whenever it happens.

“I’m ready, I don’t know about you. You’ve had it easy, it’s been breezy for you.

“You’re ready to fight low opposition and get paid millions of dollars and you don’t want that gravy train to end, but I am the man that’s going to end your career.”

Wilder also insisted he “will be bring boxing back to where it used to be” when the heavyweight division was booming with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.

Joshua confirmed that Wilder is a very possible opponent for 2018 in a recent interview.

A title defence against WBO champion Joseph Parker next year seems increasingly unlikely, however, after Parker’s team told ESPN they received a very low offer that they wouldn’t consider.

 

Source: ESPN

I’ll come for a rematch – Bukom Banku

Barimah Kamoko, otherwise known as Bukom Banku says he will go and train for a rematch against Bastie Samir, the boxer who ended his undefeated record on Saturday.

Speaking on Kasapa FM on Monday, Barimah Kamoko said it was a mistake and a misunderstanding that led to his defeat.

“I was leading in the first two rounds, and in the third round I went down from a right punch so he dominated. Then in the fourth, fifth and sixth, round I was on top of the game. The cut I got in the seventh round should not have caused the referee to stop the fight”, he told the show host.

“It’s the cut that shows that it is a big fight, I don’t understand why the referee stopped the fight, I don’t understand at all”, he added in lament.

“Bastie Samir won the fight but I will go and correct my mistakes and come back for a rematch on the 6th of March 2018 because this is not a legitimate loss”.

All my fans and family are unhappy because this loss is not legitimate, he told his host on Monday.

Bukomx Bastie

Bukom Banku as he is popularly known was referring to the much-anticipated bout that came off on Saturday, 21st October at the Bukom Boxing Arena.

He had promised his fans and well-wishers to knock Bastie Samir out in the 6th round.

“This fight is just a coconut seller fight, he is not a strong fighter, I will knock him out in the 6th round”, he said enthusiastically to the press and before a number of fans.

This statement backfired when the celebrated boxer faced a humiliating career tainting defeat when he was knocked out in the 7th round by his opponent.

Bastie Samir has already stated that he is prepared and ready to grant Kamoko a rematch.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Ex-Sports Minister eulogises boxing great late Col Slater

Ambassador Amarkai Amarteifio, a former Minister for Youth and Sports, wants to see Ghanaian boxing ring officials emulate the legendary Col George Slater who will be buried today in Accra.

In a tribute to Col. Slater who passed on some months back, the former Sports Minister described the departed referee judge as a great gentleman whose contributions to the sport provided great foundations which have led to the major strides made in the sport today.

Ambassador Amarkai Amarteifio who also previously served as Chairman of the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) remembered fondly the days when Col Slater set very high standards as boxing Referee.

“He was a reference point for fair officiating. He brought a professional touch and made the sport attractive to patronize,” he said.

The Late Col. George Slater was also part of major milestones in world boxing history.

Earlier 1974 he was present at the very famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire (now DR Congo).

Also in 1964 when Muhammad Ali visited Ghana, Col Slater was part of the entourage that welcomed the legendary boxer.

Due to his industriousness and devotion to the sport, he was elevated to the helm of the administration of the sport in Ghana as it head succeeding Air Commodore de Graft-Hayford a.k.a chocolate kid.

Ambassador Amarkai Amarteifio, who is also the board chairmain of Great Olympics recalled how the late Col Slater’s tenure saw the establishment of high end boxing patronage. “It was during his days that we saw the introduction of the mandatory black tie dress code at ringside. Boxing was put in its right place as a premium sport that also celebrated the achievers of society at ringside during big fight nights,” he recalled.

It was Col. George Herbert Slater’s tenure as GBA Chairman that the Accra Stadium recorded the historic attendance of 120 fans at the D.K. Poison-Danny ‘Little Red’ Lopez title fight on November 6, 1976.

“That classy and elaborate set up had been put in place at the Rivera Hotel for a post-fight celebration since the assumption was that D.K. Poison would successfully retain his WBC featherweight title against the Mexican.

“Unfortunately, D.K. lost the fight and had to be rushed to the 37 Military Hospital after that. We all visited D.K. Poison and Col told the boxer to take it easy after he had asked how he was doing,” he recounted.

According to Ambassador Amarteifio, Col Slater who was also drained in disappointment told his colleague senior army officers who accompanied him to the hospital to go the Rivera for Dinner if they still had appetite.

“A handful of people  (excluding the senior army officers and Col Slater himself) turned up at the even,” he revealed.

The former Sports Minister also recalled one of the stories Col Slater shared with his friends. “When Floyd Klutei Robertson fought Sugar Ramos, the Ghanaian did not win on the cards of the judges but eventually the people felt their local boxer should win the fight. Therefore Osaagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah the President in unusual fashion declared Floyd Robertson the winner of the fight and the champion.”

Col. George Hebert Slater was also actively played cricket. “He made a big mark on the sport of boxing with his sterling qualities and will forever be remembered,” Ambassador Amarkai Amarteifio told Joy Sports.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Bukom Banku, Samir Bastie bout postponed

Bukom Banku( left) and Samir Bastie ( right)

The Management of Box Office Sports Promotions, has rescheduled the bout dubbed “Make or Break” between Brimah “Bukom Banku” Kamoko and Samir Bastie.

The bout has now been moved from September 30, to October 21, 2017 at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra.

A statement signed by Mr. Alex Ntiamoah Boakye, Chief Executive Officer of Box office promotion, said the postponement is due to request from a major TV partner which needs an ample time for pre-fight promotions, good planning for a world class production and programming to cover the event.

Box office promotions has therefore apologized to Ghanaians for any inconvenience caused and promised to bring to the boxing fans and the general public the best boxing promotions for the new schedule date.

 

 

 

Credit:

GNA

‘Ike Quartey pushed me into boxing promotion’ – Oscar De La Hoya

Boxing pundits agreed Quartey was De La Hoya’s greatest ring challenge to date

These days, Oscar De La Hoya makes his money as a boxing promoter, seeking the best talents in the sport and handing the biggest platforms for exhibit their skills.

He even has the proud claim to the much-awaited bout between Gennady Golvkin and Saul Alvarez and he will see that happen in Las Vegas on September 16.

But before the suits and lengthy meetings when trying to negotiate top bouts, Oscar De La Hoya was a top-class boxer with the nickname, “The Golden Boy”.He was the WBC Welterweight champion and one of the best of his generation, and his professional record read: 39 wins, 6 losses in 45 fights.

De la Hoya( black shorts) and Quartey (on the floor) during the bout

 

 

 

 

But he says one bout with Ghana’s Ike Quartey on February 13, 1999, essentially pointed him in the direction of boxing, promotion in the event of his exit from the sport. And he made this revelation in the United States on Thursday on New York-based Power 105’s programme, “The Breakfast Club”, when he was there to speak about the Canelo-GGG bout.

“I was fighting this kid, Ike Quartey, um, I think he was from Africa, from Ghana, and he was a tough, tough son of a…I mean this guy was tough! And he hit me with everything, he dropped me twice and I think I dropped him three times, I needed the last round to win and I finally won but I couldn’t walk for like two weeks afterwards, you know, because I was so sore and it was painful.

“And right then and there, I said to myself ‘I need something to do after boxing’ and so what can I do? I said, you know, let me become a promoter and help these young guys out to establish their own careers.”

De la Hoya

The bout in question, which was the 30th of his career, was awarded to De La Hoya via a split decision for him to retain the WBC Welterweight and Lineal titles.

He went to lose his belts to Felix Trinidad in September 1999 in Las Vegas, via a majority decision.

Ike Quartey went to lose to Fernando Vargas in his next bout, won the next three and lose his final two bouts to close his pro career on 37 wins and 4 losses.

 

 

 

Credit:

citifmonline.com

McGregor set to overtake Ronaldo on Forbes rich list

Conor McGregor( left) and Cristiano Ronaldo  (right)

Conor McGregor is set to pass Cristiano Ronaldo on the Forbes list, just one year after he predicted he would.

Conor Mcgregor is set to overtake Cristiano Ronaldo in Forbes’ list following his fight against Floyd Mayweather on Sunday.

While Ronaldo topped this year’s earnings with £71m, McGregor’s super fight is said to earn him over £77m – with endorsements excluded.

McGregor is renowned for his predictions and even said to Ronaldo that he’d eclipse him in the Forbes list when the pair met in the build up to UFC 202 last July.

The Irishman said: “You were number one on the Forbes list, I was like number 35 or something. I’ll get up. Maybe next year I’ll get you.’ Ronaldo replied: ‘I don’t think so.”

And with Mayweather now retired from boxing, maybe McGregor will fancy his chances of becoming the world’s richest athlete in the near future.

The Irishman is open to the possibility of fighting in the UFC before the end of the year.

 As the organisation’s pay-per view lure, McGregor’s fights continue to break records in terms of gate and broadcasting revenue.
Credit:
Sport360

Video: Mayweather retires with a masterly victory over McGregor

Floyd Mayweather hugs Conor McGregor after the bout

Floyd Mayweather has beaten Conor McGregor in Las Vegas, claiming his 50th victory and maintaining his unbeaten record.

McGregor had been written off before the fight, but the Irishman surprised many of his critics with a largely professional display, taking the fight to 10 rounds before being defeated by technical knock out. He got off to a flying start, throwing a series of punches at the 40-year-old and scoring a few early points.

Displaying some theatrics, the Irishman even put his hands behind his back t one stage. As the first round wore on, Mayweather went on the offensive but failed to connect and it was the Irishman who was ahead as the bell rung. In the second round, McGregor continued the assault and easily held his own against the undefeated Mayweather. McGregor received a warning in the third round as he illegally connected with Mayweather on the top of the head. Despite the breaches, it was a largely controlled, professional display from the MMA fighter.

Mayweather, meanwhile, struggled to stamp his authority on the contest, receiving blows to the head and failing to make an impact on the 29-year-old opponent. The American found himself against the ropes early in the fourth round as McGregor went on the attack. Despite apparently trailing the Irishman, Mayweather had time for a wink to the cameras in a show of confidence. But Mayweather is known to be patient and started to find his groove in the fifth round. Pushing the Irishman back, Mayweather landed a number of blows to the body and his pressure started to pay off in the sixth as the Irishman seemed to tire.

In the seventh, he finally started exerting serious pressure on McGregor, getting him on the ropes and landing a hard left hook. In the eighth, Mayweather maintained the pressure but McGregor remained defiant, landing some shots of his own. McGregor got Mayweather on the ropes early in the ninth, but Mayweather battered McGregor with a hard right. With the Irishman clearly tiring and with his legs wobbling, Mayweather moved in for the kill but the Irishman survived the round. The American finished McGregor off in the 10th round, with the referee stepping in to stop the fight. McGregor started well, but Mayweather showed his quality to come through.

Mayweather retires again

The 40-year-old said afterwards the fight would be his last, before thanking his ‘dance partner’ McGregor. “He is a tough competitor and I thought we gave the fans what they wanted to see.

“He is a lot better than I thought he was, he used different angles and was a tough competitor but I was the better man tonight.

“Our game-plan was to take our time, let him shoot all his heavy shots early on and then take him down at the end, down the stretch.

“We know in the MMA he fights 25 minutes real hard and after that he starts to slow down. “I guaranteed this fight wouldn’t go the distance. A win is a win.”

 

McGregor feels he could have gone on

The fight should have gone on, according to McGregor

“I took the early rounds fairly handy,” he said.

“I thought it was close, I thought the stoppage was a bit early, there was a lot on the line and I thought he should have let me carry on.

“I was just a little fatigued. He is composed and you have got to give it to him.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. declared winner

“I thought it was close. I get a little wobbly when I’m tired, it is fatigue, the referee could have let it keep going, let the man put me down. I am clear headed.

“Where were the final two rounds? Let me wobble to the corner and make him put me down.

“I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back. When you’re in here in the squared circle, everything is different.”

 

 

Watch the full fight below:

 

 

 

 

Credit:

The Telegraph

It will be difficult to emulate my father – Azumah Nelson Jr admits

Azumah Nelson Junior

Azumah Nelson Junior, son of the World Boxing Council’s Greatest Super Featherweight of All Time, Azumah Nelson, has admitted that he faces a Herculean task in trying to emulate the exploits of his father in professional boxing.

“My father was a very great boxer and if, I am able to accomplish half of what he did I would be grateful,” Nelson Jr told the Graphic Sports shortly after recording a split decision victory over Prosper Dzivor on Saturday at the Bukom Boxing Arena.

“I mean he is the world’s greatest super featherweight and that’s very hard to compete with but I will try my best”.

Professor Azumah Nelson Snr, Ghanaian Boxing legend

Nelson Jr also had some harsh words for his opponent (Dzivor) who weighed-in two kilogrammes above the 60kg mark of their three-round lightweight amateur clash and later felt hard done by the result after scoring a knockdown.

Azumah Nelson Junior (INSET: Azumah Nelson Snr)

“It wasn’t really a knockdown, I would say it was a slip,” he said in reference to a moment in the second round of the bout when a jab by Dzivor resulted in him visiting the canvas.

“Because it wasn’t a powerful punch that pushed me down, I lost my balance… I think he should put in more work and stop talking so much, because you say you are a boxer and we are making weight and you are overweight what does that say about you? You are a lazy boxer”.

Nelson Jr, 21, also disclosed that he was placing his boxing career on hold because school has re-opened.

He stated: “Right now, school has re-opened, so I think maybe I would put my boxing on hold for a while, but then I would try to do both, but it won’t be so serious like when I am on vacation”.

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

peacefmonline.com

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