This post is about Boxing in Africa – A Popular Sport with South Africa and Ghana Ahead of Others. Many games were indeed played in the traditional African setting, particularly when harvesting of crops had been completed and food was secured in their granaries. It was time for pastime activities and wrestling or boxing sessions would be held formally or informally. Boxing has played a huge role in promoting sports tourism in Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA AND APARTHEID
South Africa had a system of Apartheid before 1990 and so the growth of boxing developed along those lines. Africans could just admire the good boxing equipment the whites possessed. It took some time for Apartheid regulations to be abolished to level competitions for both races in preparation for all Africa Games, the Olympics or the Commonwealth.
ABOLITION OF APARTHEID REGULATIONS IN BOXING
With the abolition of Apartheid regulations in Boxing, the spirit of competition between the whites and the blacks on who should bring more medals in the country heightened. However, both races continued to excel both at home and abroad bringing gold and silver medals into their beloved country.
JAKE MATLALA AND HEKKIE BUDLER
Jake Matlala, a black boxer, won four world titles while Hekkie Budler, a white boxer has earned himself the greatest name in the South African Boxing ring history by winning three world titles simultaneously. Other world-renowned boxers like Gerrie Coetzee, Corrie Sanders, Pierre Coetzer, Soon Bothes, Jerry Mbitse, Dingaan “The Rose of Soweto” Thobela and Lehlohonolo “Hands of Stone” cannot go unnoticed.
Bukom, a densely populated fishing suburb, is the hub of Ghana’s boxing activities. Seven out of the eight world championship boxers have originated from this place. It has children and youths spending most of their days outside or inside the boxing gyms. Bukom alone has more than twenty-five boxing gyms.
SUCCESSFUL BOXERS FROM BUKOM
The following is a list of successful boxers from Bukom who have been the envy of every child or youth in the vicinity. Their age is indicated when they became world champions:
1. ISAAC DOGBOE
Isaac Dogboe was a boxer in the bantamweight division. Later on, he proceeded to become a WBO Junior
Welterweight Champion by dethroning Jessie Magdaleno. He was the youngest Ghanaian Champion to win the world title in his 7th month at the age of 23.
2. IKE QUARTEY
Ike Quartey was the last born of his father’s 27 children. He had participated in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and ended up his amateur career with a record of 50 wins against 4 losses. He dethroned the WBA Crisanto Espana in his 25th professional fight to become the third-youngest world champion boxer from Ghana. That was in his 6th month at the age of 24.
3. DAVID KOTEY
David Kotey was nicknamed ‘DK Poison’ as he fought his way to the top in the WBC featherweight division. He made history by becoming the first Bukom product and Ghanaian to win a world title. He was crowned the WBC Featherweight Champion in his 9 months at the age of 24.
4. NANA YAW KONADU
Nana Yaw Konadu was a champion in two different weight categories. He was declared a WBC Super Flyweight Champion on his 24th day at the age of 25. He went ahead also to grab the WBA Bantamweight title from Veeraphol Sahaprom in 1996.
5. ALFRED KOTEY
Alfred Kotey was in his 1st month at the age of 26 when he was declared the WBO Bantamweight Champion. He had left amateur boxing in the same year after competing in the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
6. JOSEPH AGBEKO
Joseph Agbeko was both an IBF and IBO Bantamweight Champion. He was crowned the King of Bantamweight Division in his 6th month at the age of 27.
7. JOSHUA CLOTTEY
Joshua Clottey won his IBF Welterweight Championship in his 9th month at the age of 30. His opponent was Zab Judah. He made history by becoming the oldest Ghanaian boxer to win the world championship title.
Most of the children in this area enjoy boxing more than going to attend lessons at school. It is not uncommon to see gyms full of children and youths who are supposed to be at school sparring in or outside a gym. All they dream of is becoming the next world champion.
Such motivation springs from the successes of boxers who have made it in boxing. They have brought themselves instant fame and riches upon winning championships abroad.
VISIT OF FLOYD MAYWEATHER
The visit of the undefeated world champion from the United States of America, Floyd Mayweather, has even boosted the morale of the children and youths who want to become future boxing champions in any weight category. Unconfirmed reports show that there have been many school dropouts in Bukom since the visit of Floyd Mayweather.
SOME BOXING GYMS IN BOKUM
The following boxing gyms in Bukom district many young school-going children. They include:
Akotoku Academy, Bukom Boxing Gym, Attoh Quarshie Boxing Gym, Seconds Out Boxing Gym, Billy Kotey Boxing Gym, Sonia Boxing Gym, Discipline Boxing Gym, Fit Square Boxing Gym, Sea View Boxing Gym, Black Panthers Boxing Gym, Beach Boxing Gym, Wisdom Boxing Gym, Will Power Boxing Gym, Stadium Boxing Gym, Alajo Boxing Gym, Odorkor Boxing Gym, Square Deal Boxing Gym, Charles Quartey Boxing Foundation, Palm Scream Boxing Gym, Bridge Boxing Gym, Dade Boxing Gym, Ultimate Boxing Gym, Azumah Nelson Gym, Bukom Boxing Arena Sports Emporium Gym, Wadada Boxing Gym and Bronx Gym.
JAMESTOWN IN GHANA
Jamestown is administered under Ashiedu Keteke Sub-Metropolitan District in the Capital City of Ghana, Accra. It has fewer boxing gyms compared to those found in Bukom, which are over twenty-five. However, it has produced a champion who is highly regarded in the boxing ring.
This one is no other than Azumah Nelson as “The Professor” of boxing in the whole continent of Africa after being honoured at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.
CATHERINE PHIRI OF ZAMBIA
Recently, African women have not lagged behind their male counterparts in boxing. Some of them have brought honour to Africa by winning world titles in boxing. A case in mind is Zambia’s Catherine Phiri who was crowned in 2016 as the WBC Female Super Bantamweight. On 17 December 2016, Catherine Phiri was honoured by the World Boxing Council for being the first boxer from Africa to win the WBC Bantamweight Title Champion according to Wikipedia.
Some successes are being scored in the area of boxing coming from all the countries in Africa. Who knows what further successes will be scored in boxing in the next decade? We are likely to have more female champions and more heavyweight male champions. Do not be surprised as many youths, male and female, are out there preparing themselves to be the next world boxing champions.