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FEATURE: Boxers must protect the sanctity of their sport!

BY: Bernard Neequaye

I WATCHED Richard Harrison Lartey’s first round knockout loss to Abdulkerim Edilov and wondered why a boxer would travel all the way to Russia to go and lose in such manner.

It was indeed a bad performance from the heavyweight whose fall from the supposed left hook by Edilov was feigned.

The excerpts of the bout showed clearly how Lartey knocked himself down without his opponent’s punch landing, a development which is not healthy for the competitiveness of the sport.

This is not the first time he had engaged in such a disgraceful bout outside Ghana. Last year, he performed similarly in the United Kingdom (UK) when he faced Fabio Wardley in November in what many described as a shameful act of boxing.

Boxing does not deserve this kind of abysmal performances from some Ghanaian fighters who only avail themselves up for the international stages due to the financial reward.

Everyone knows boxing is a dangerous sport but a boxer must be competitive for his payday and not just faking for the money.

It is sad that fighters from Ghana use themselves as walkovers to opponents just to receive monetary gains.

The act of managers and promoters taking fighters out just to be used as punching bags must be stopped and this is where the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) has a role to play.



GBA intervention

My problem with the GBA has been its decision to release half-baked fighters for bouts when they know too well that those boxers are not travelling to be competitive.

I am not saying boxers must be prevented from fighting outside by the GBA but I want Ghanaian fighters to compete when given the opportunity at the international stage.

In the case of Lartey, he was not released by the GBA to fight Edilov due to a five-year ban he is currently serving and how he managed to get a release latter to travel for the bout remains a misery.

The GBA in a statement banned Lartey from engaging in any of its activities and also training at any licensed gym under the authority for using a Tanzania boxing licence for the fight with Edilov.

I don’t want to believe this because it is a fraudulent act if he indeed participated in the bout with a different country’s licence.

Why must he go that far? There was a similar situation during his fight with Wardley where he was sanctioned by the GBA for forging a release letter for the bout.

This is becoming part of him and if he does not stop, the future might not be pleasant for him.

Boxing development

It will be hypocritical to think that Lartey is the only Ghanaian boxer engaging in such unprofessional acts because this is gradually becoming a norm in the boxing circles.

I believe the new GBA administration being led by Abraham Kotei Neequaye must work hard to sanitise the system by putting in place measures that would prevent such acts that brings the sport into disrepute.

I want to salute the authority for instituting the ban to ward off other boxers who are looking at emulating Lartey in the future.

But it does not stop there. It is also up to all stakeholders in the boxing fraternity to come together to fight this canker if the image of Ghana boxing wants to be protected.

That should start from the boxers who define the sport in every aspect. They must show leadership by protecting the sanctity of boxing in Ghana to attract investors into the country.