The Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, has urged boxer Joseph Agbeko to push himself to the limit to be able to annex the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) bantamweight title in Accra this month.
The former International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion will fight Colombian Luis Melendez at the Accra Stadium on Friday, March 22 on a bill expected to feature some other high profile local boxers.
“After 25 long years since Ghana hosted a major world title fight when Azumah (Nelson) beat (Sidnei) Dal Rovere, this will be the first time Ghana will host another world boxing title fight.
“It will be only proper that we celebrate after the event, and I urge you to ensure that the title remains here after the night,” Mr Afriyie Ankrah told Agbeko at the Bridge Boxing Gym at Roman Ridge in Accra where the boxer has pitched camp ahead of the title showdown.
The Minister’s visit was to show the nation’s support to the 32-year-old Agbeko as he prepared for the experienced Melendez.
The fight in Accra, to be staged by Fresh King Promotions, has already been shifted back twice, but the March 22 date, which coincides with Agbeko’s 33rd birthday anniversary, could prove the turning point for the Ghanaian who is seeking to become a three-time world champion.
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“I am very ready. I have been ready for more than a month now, and I won’t disappoint Ghanaians,” Agbeko told the Minister in their interaction.
“I am honoured to have you here, and it is a morale booster that the Minister of state should come over to watch my training. I want to assure Ghanaians that the fight will be a beautiful one, and I will not disappoint you,” he added.
The occasion which had in attendance the acting Director General of the National Sports Authority, Ms Alice Attipoe, and a host of media personnel, saw Agbeko undertake a sparring session with bantamweight Isaac Owusu before a workout on the punchbag.
Story by Michael Quaye