Ashie gets controversial win over Mokoena

BY: Kwame Larweh
George Ashie (right) swings a left hook to the guarded face of Mokoena in their brawl last Friday night
George Ashie (right) swings a left hook to the guarded face of Mokoena in their brawl last Friday night

Boxing fans who thronged the Bukom Boxing Arena last Friday were left bewildered and angry after witnessing a controversial decision awarded to Ghanaian George Ashie against South African Michael Mokoena in their interim WBO Lightweight championship bout.

Some fans who were at the bout, put together by Box Office Promotions under the banner 'The Tiger Roars', told the Graphic Sports that the sinking image of officiating in processional boxing in the country had further been worsened by this decision they described as dubious.

South Africa Journey man Mokoena dominated his opponent from start to finish, but strangely lost on Judges Roger Barnor's score card(117-105), Adorn Bertin 117-113 and a draw on Erasmus Owoo's score card(116-116) in a majority decision in favour of the Bukom fighter popularly referred to as 'The Red Tiger'.

Gauteng-based Mokoena whose lost last Friday made it twice in his 14 bouts professional career started well, jabbing his opponent with his right and using his reach to keep Ashie away.

He bloodied Ashie in the third round after fierce exchanges between the two in the pulsating encounter.

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The southpaw engaged in fierce exchanges with the Ghanaian who also combined effectively to the body of his opponent in the early rounds.

Ashie whose win made it 25 for him professionally, with four losses and a draw, connected and landed many punches in the seventh Mokoena replied with swinging hooks to the jaws of Ashie.

The Ghanaian was cautioned on three different occasions, after a series of low blows in the middle rounds against Mokoena.Ashie bled profusely from his cut on his right brow but the Ghanaian fought on gallantly. Indeed, Mokoena who had earlier stated on his arrival that he won't return with an empty hand was too much of a handful for the Ghanaian to chew.

He battered Ashie with right jabs and hooks in the eighth and in the ninth both fighters exchanged heated blows to climax the round.

The final three rounds were again dominated by the South African, who masterminded a tactical approach to get at his opponent, while staying at bay. Ashie looked tired in the 11th and nearly lost breath as Mokoena pounded him freely without a response from the Ghanaian who tried to clinch at the least chance.

In the final round both fighters got at each other but the South African jabbed the unguarded face of his opponent more often as Ashie sought to get at his body.

Mokoena appeared depressed after the ring announcer, Nathaniel Attoh, declared Ashie the winner. Of the bout.

On the under cards of the night a thrilling duel saw Isaac Sackey secure a unanimous decision (117-111,122-108 and 120-109) against Raymond Commey to be crowned as the WBO super bantamweight champion.

Enoch 'Gbese Bruno' Quaye who was billed to fight veteran Michael Ayittey Powers Okine rather successfully brawled Mawuli Folivi and won a fifth round technical knockout in their cruiserweight contest.

He later called out Ayittey Powers to stop avoiding him and be bold to face him.

Super middleweight fighter Obodai Sai made light work of Richard Ashong by stopping him.in the first round of their encounter.