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A good show for Ghana

BY: The Mirror
Emmanuel Tagoe in the middle
Emmanuel Tagoe in the middle

When you get the attention of the world, you must make a statement that resonates in the ears of all right-thinking members of society, all around the world.

That was exactly the statement made by Emmanuel Tagoe, aka Gameboy, last Friday, when he forced his Filipino opponent, Carlo Magali, to quit on his stool in Round 9 of their scheduled 12-round title bout, with Tagoe's WBA International lightweight title on the line.

The occasion was so grand it attracted an A-list of VIPs in the boxing community such as Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson, the former WBC featherweight and super featherweight king; former IBF welterweight champ Joshua Clottey, Commonwealth and Intercontinental lightweight champ Richard Commey, Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan (the promoter), GBA president Peter Zwennes, and the sports minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye.

Tagoe's title fight with the Filipino sent me down memory lane to an Azumah Nelson WBC featherweight title defence against Brazilian Sidnei Dal Rovere on December 10, 1988 at the Accra Sports Stadium, where a precocious gospel songstress, Afua Agyapong (now deceased) thrilled the fans with her silky voice in a performance of the national anthem.

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No such performance took place last Friday, but a good performance by a local artiste in the ring drew popular local fighter, Ayittey Powers into the ring, where he unveiled his dancing prowess during the entertaining preamble to the main bout.

In the bout, Gameboy showcased his defence, footwork and unveiled a range of skills, combining jabs, flurries and a barrage of punishing hooks that downed the opponent in the first round.

Though the opponent almost quit after the opening bout, citing poor sight, it was gratifying that he continued. Yet, Gameboy's pounding of the typically hounding Filipino forced him to quit, paving the way for Team Tagoe to proceed on their march towards their world championship quest.

Also, I thank the Ghana Boxing Authority, the dignitaries, supporters that energized the atmosphere, and the security personnel, for a good show of crowd control, order and decorum that ensured safety on a victorious night for Ghana boxing. 

It is in that vein that I commend Gyan's Baby Jet Promotions and Box Office Promotions for staging the card, and caution Team Tagoe to stay focused, and leave nothing to chance, while they keep their eyes trained on world championship glory.

Before that eventuality, fortunately, another Ghanaian Commonwealth lightweight titlist, Richard Commey (24-0, 22KOs), has a date with destiny against American Robert Easter, Jr. (17-0, 14 KOs) on the tentative date of September 9, in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Prior to that date, WBO Africa featherweight titlist, Isaac Dogboe, will set the stage in a make-or-break unification title fight against Asian featherweight titlist, Neil John Tabanao on August 26 in Accra, for the right to be ranked fifth, and a possible crack at the title held by Jessie Vargas.

Certainly, the synergy of the flurry of recent promotions this year give Ghana boxing a shot in the arm, regaining the consciousness of Ghanaians, yet thirsting for another golden generation when Azumah Nelson and Nana Yaw Konadu held world titles concurrently, followed by the tandem Ike Quartey and Alfred Kotey, albeit with different managers.

Indeed, Commey, Tagoe and Dogboe have served a luscious entree requiring the main course of world titles, and that appetite cannot be satisfied quickly enough, having impregnated Ghanaian fight fans with great expectations.

Similarly, Ghana's Abdul Wahid bears great expectations of Ghanaian boxing adherents, to win a medal at the Rio Olympics spanning August 5-21.

Indeed, the longing for great reward at the olympics surpasses the cited risk, and it is the belief of some Ghana boxing officials that Wahid would bring home a medal, an elusive target since light welterweight Prince Amartey won bronze at the 1972 Munich Games.