FEATURE: Stop using boxers as guinea pigs!

BY: Bernard Neequaye

The rate at which Ghanaian boxers lose abroad these days could attest to the notion that they are mainly used by matchmakers to improve records of other fighters.

In recent times, numerous fighters in the country continue to travel for fights only to return empty handed with most of them complaining about being short changed in the end.

It could be said that these fighters are either not prepared for the fights they go in for or simply lose abysmally due to please matchmakers and promoters.

Just last weekend, two Ghanaian fighters were knocked out in four rounds in bouts outside the shores of the country. While Benjamin Lamptey lost to Mark Chamberlain in the United Kingdom (UK), Isaac Sackey was stopped by Yevgeniy Pavlov in Kazakhstan.

Every boxer is prone to defeat but the way and manner in which these fighters lose give credence to the kind of bouts they accept. It is simply becoming too much and the earlier they are dealt with the better.

After watching excerpts of the two fights, I came to a conclusion that either the bouts were mismatches for the Ghanaian boxers or they just didn’t prepare in time before accepting the bouts.

My only problem is that some of these recent defeats handed to fighters outside Ghana were expected just before they departed the country. One could ask, what is the motivation for these boxers to be accepting such shows?

Financial struggles

The answer remains one thing, financial gains.

Boxers over here continue to struggle financially making them eager to accept just any fight for the money without considering their careers.

The focus of building careers are usually thrown to the dogs in return for meagre pay days whenever the chance avail itself. This, I believe, could be addressed by the leadership of the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA).

One could decide not to fault the GBA for releasing fighters for bouts of this calibre because after all it will be bad to prevent a boxer from travelling for a fight just because he is ill-prepared.

A typical example was when Joseph Agbeko had the chance to challenge for the world championship in 2007 against Luiz Alberto Perez. At the time, he was relatively unknown but he took the chance and became a world champion in the end.

I am forced to accept that this kind of story allows the GBA to offer every boxer equal opportunity to compete to see if they can take the opportunities.

Drastic measures

But going forward, all stakeholders must come together to prevent our fighters from wasting away just because they accepted some kind of fight in exchange for money.

It must start with the managers because they usually push fighters into such bouts for their selfish interests without considering the futures of the boxers.

A manager must know that it does not take just a bout to recoup all investments made in a boxer and the earlier they get that the better for them.

I am of the opinion that all these could stop with the right systems in place and I call on the new leadership of the GBA to ensure boxers stop making Ghana a laughing stock at the world stage with these mediocre performances.