FEATURE: Samuel Takyi set to take Olympic Games by storm

BY: Bernard Neequaye

SAMUEL Takyi was a surprise inclusion during the Black Bombers preparations for the Olympic Games qualifier in Dakar, Senegal in March 2020 but he earned his place.

The featherweight boxer had to prove his mettle against the Skipper of the Black Bombers, Sulemanu Tetteh, to be picked into the amateur national team.

Takyi recounted how fierce the contest was and why officials at ringside decided to cut short the bout to avoid a clash between their supporters.

To the 20-year-old, that was the beginning of greater things to come in his young boxing career.

“That moment was very huge for me because everyone expected him to just walk over me but I made the contest a fierce one,” Takyi told Graphic Sports.

“Impressing against Sulemanu was the turning point in my career and I promised myself to continue working very hard to get to the top,” he said.

Choosing boxing

Takyi had always wanted to take up a career in football but as fate would have him, he eventually fell in love with boxing.

It was not surprising to lace up the gloves ahead of wearing boots because of the neighbourhood in which he grew up.

Takyi grew up with his grandmother at Atukpai in Bukom, an area that has produced seven world champions for Ghana.

Bukom prides itself as a town where world champions are nurtured and seeing kids fight is a normal phenomenon.

However, the youngster narrated how he challenged a boxer at a show around Accra’s General Post Office only to be pummelled into submission by ‘Obama’ in a bout.

His defeat to Obama after lacing up to fight for the first time in his life got him attracted to the fistic sport.

“I went to play football at the Osikan Beach in Accra and upon my return home, I found myself at the Accra General Post Office where a fight was being organised.

“I challenged one fighter known as Obama and lost woefully but that built so much confidence in me to start training as a boxer,” he said.

Takyi was introduced to the Discipline Boxing Academy in Bukom where he held an extensive training for three months.

Three months later, he took on Obama in a rematch and avenged his defeat to the surprise of many onlookers.

According to him, the win over Obama marked the turning point of his boxing career having put in so much effort to silence ‘Obama’.

Olympics participation

Takyi made a name for himself when he participated in his maiden international competition by earning an Olympics slot at the African qualifiers in Dakar.

Initially, he secured qualification alongside Sulemanu Tetteh as Ghana’s two boxing representatives at the games.

Almost a year later, Shakul Samed was picked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as one of the best light heavyweight fighters from Africa to participate in the Olympics.

Samed, who had missed out on the games during the African qualifiers, was given the nod to add his name to his two elder brothers – Bastie Samir and Issa Samir - who both competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The trio are currently finalising their preparations in Japan’s city of Inawashiro with a few days until the commencement of the Olympics on July 23 to August 8.

“Preparations here in Japan have been fantastic and I believe that will really help us when the competition starts.

“We have everything at our disposal to make us win laurels and we are exploiting that to the fullest. I am hopeful that we will win medals at the end of the games,” Takyi told Graphic Sports.