Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afryie Ankrah, says government will construct a modern boxing gym of international standard in due course to enable the nation’s boxers train adequately and professionally, and to host international boxing bouts.
He said it was high time the state took the sport seriously and provided the necessary infrastructure for the discipline which has honoured the nation with seven world champions and still serve as means of livelihood for many youth.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah made these commitments yesterday when he toured some boxing gyms in the Greater Accra Region to familiarise himself with state of the gyms that produced the like of legendary Azumah Nelson, David Kotey Poison, Ike Quartey and Joshua Clottey.
The Minister first visited the Bukom Boxing Gym which now looked like a pantry, but caretaker of the place told reporters the bare cemented ground used in drying clothes was still being used by amateur boxers.
At the Attoh Quarshie Gym, lead trainer Godwin Kotey Dzanie, alias Alloway, informed the Minister that the gym - the oldest in the country currently - was key in sharpening the fingers of the likes of Azumah Neslon, Ike Quartey and Joshua Clottey, but had little to show for its pedigree.
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The gym contains a sub-standard boxing ring, some tattered boxing gloves and footwears, and housed in an unventilated humid free block structure. The Minister after inspecting the gym promised to renovate the almost abandoned structure.
Mr Afriyie Ankrah also toured the newly-constructed boxing ring by the Gamashie Development Agency adjacent the Atto Quarshie Gym where he met the director of the agency, Nii Teiko Tagoe, who appealed to the Minister to help in the construction of a basketball court and a volleyball court to help the youth in James Town and Bukom grow their talent.
It was his encounter with theatrical pugilist, Braimah ‘Bukom Banku’ Kamoko, during a serious practice session with his coach that the Minister attempted to demonstrate his boxing skills much to the amusement of all.
His last point of call was the Wisdom and Will Power Boxing Gyms where the Minister pledged to turn the two redundant arenas into international facilities.
Story by Kwame Larweh