By: Tilda Elinam Acorlor|Voltaonlinegh.com|
Boxing is said to be a combat sport, only for the dedicated and success hungry. Not many people are thought to have the appetite for it in the Volta Region.
The notion is that people from the region would rather go into carpentry; sing loudly to the rhythmic sound of the hammer, masonry or go fishing.
Wrong notion of course, because that view is held of Ewes; There are other ethnic groups in the region, who could go into boxing if others there want to handle the saws and the pickaxes only; So a boxer and a good one too, surely must be from some other region. If you are from the region, Volta, then of course must not be domiciled there.
All that notion has changed as the story of boxing in the Volta Region is about to be re-written.
We have world beaters coming from the region and many more are being groomed in the region, even with all the technical problems.
Dotse Anama, (17-16, 12 KOs) alias Polopala, is a budding great boxer set to change the notion.
“I, (Polopala), will prove to them that I’m a great boxer from the streets of Asogli”.
Those are the words of a young spirited fighter who loiter the streets of Ho, capital of the Volta region, yearning to be a world champion.
Aflao, apart from sharing Ghana’s Eastern boarder with Togo, is the nest of budding boxers in the region. Indeed the only boxing coach in the region lives there.
So boxing as a game is vibrant there.
Lightweight boxer, Nathaniel Nukpe is a school dropout and a boxer from Aflao. He told me how he struggled to make ends meet.
“I come from the street, the street has made me who I am today”
“I dropped out of school, I had no friends“
“I became a boxer because I am a street boy,
“Many deserted me but today those who left me out are coming back because I’m a successful boxer”
Nathaniel Nukpe (17-4. KOs 12), who describes himself as the king of technical knockouts, no longer feel abandoned and is motivated by the success, the hardship of the streets has blessed him with.
There is this notion that boxers hail from the street and the only way to survive is being tuff among peers on the streets and transforming into a pugilist as a game, boxer.
Perhaps that notion is true.
Unlike Nathaniel Nukpe, Azumah Nelson Jr, son of boxing legend, Azumah Nelson who lacks nothing and very comfortable, away from the streets, with all the tutelage from his father cannot be a world champion one day.
Azumah Nelson said his son has been overly pampered, which has made him unenthusiastic about becoming a good fighter.
“He is very comfortable, he has everything he wants, when he was young, I pampered him, he has a car that takes him to school and wait for him, bring him home, he lacks nothing”
“I would support junior if he wants to fight, if he does not want to fight too I would back him.” The piece from Azumah, Ghana’s boxing legend as quoted in the Daily Graphic Issue of 2nd September 2018.
So how can the region support the very spirited young one wanting to be great boxers?
Enam Dagadu the Volta Regional Boxing Federation’s chair has hopes, in the midst of the many challenges confronting the region.
He said the emergence of amateur boxers in the region would propel the sport to grow, but regretted there were not many boxing promoters and match makers from the region.
“Volta has a bright future in the discipline”
“We only have one promoter, this is not enough”
“It’s time for Volta to turn attention on boxing here in the region”
Recently, the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA), the mother body for boxing in Ghana, donated some boxing equipment to the regional federation to aid the region’s growth in the sport.
Two time former world champion, Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko (39-5, 25KOs) who held the IBF title twice between 2007 and 2011 hails from Aflao in the Volta region.
Agbeko has not been very active for close to 8 years.
In a bid to revive his boxing career, Volta region’s sole promoter, Mitch Woolams of the Aborigine Promotions staged an international bout in Aflao, in March 2018 where Joseph Agbeko secured the WBO Africa Bantamweight title against the undefeated Ugandan champion, Frank Kiwalabye (17-2, 12 KOs).
The “King Kong” went ahead to defend his title in Ho against Ghanaian boxer Ekow Wilson (13-9, 2TKO).
With this the former commonwealth bantamweight title holder is set for another crack at the world title again.
The beauty of all these is that folks who hail from the region can take pride in these boxing greats.
Meanwhile, great boxers have emerged from the Volta region, the likes of Ray Bansah and Prince Amartey who represented the region at their peak internationally.
Prince Amartey was a famous boxer and former Army officer, who won a bronze in the middle weight Division, at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
Boxing enthusiasts in the region, are nostalgic about the late 90’s in Ghana, when many stayed awake late into the early hours of the mornings to watch the Legendry Azumah Nelson, the Ike Quateys’ and Joshua Clottey fights.
Edwin Tukpeyi, an entrepreneur and a boxing enthusiast is one of them.
“I recall myself and my dad Edwin Tukpeyi Snr, kept wake to watch fight on the screen in Ho.
“But today all those exciting times are over now”
“It used to be great fun and an entertaining time”
The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) offices and hostel in Ho was a popular boxing hub.
The YMCA centre, located at Ho Civic centre, was a lively arena for boxers in the region.
As Volta prepares to re-launch boxing, the mantra of “NEHO,” used by another son from the soil, the Ghanaian-British professional boxer, Isaac Dogboe, the Royal Storm, should be the battle cry.
Dogboe the current World Boxing Organization, Super bantamweight champion.
“Neho” is an inspirational word for the boxer which literally means, “let it erupt”.