•  Samuel Takyi (right) competes against Zambian Emmanuel Katema in the final of the men’s 63.5kg weight category.
• Samuel Takyi (right) competes against Zambian Emmanuel Katema in the final of the men’s 63.5kg weight category.

Boxing: Coach Asare disappointed despite Black Bombers’ success

Coach Kwasi Ofori Asare, the head trainer of Ghana's amateur boxing team, expressed his mixed emotions despite the success of the Black Bombers at the 13th African Games, where Ghana ended a 33-year gold medal drought in boxing dating back to the 1991 edition in Cairo, Egypt.

While satisfied with the boxers' performance, the trainer fell short of his target of securing five gold medals.

The 16-member team, including three female boxers known as the Black Hitters, clinched four gold, one silver and two bronze medals to finish third behind Nigeria and Algeria, which had four gold, two silver and five bronze medals. It marked a significant achievement for Ghana in boxing. However, Coach Asare lamented the missed opportunity to achieve his ambitious goal.

The coach's disappointment stemmed from experienced boxer Abdul Wahib Omar's failure to reach the medal zone and Abubakar Kamoko's defeat in the men's 86kg final against Algerian Ousama Kanouni, disrupting Ghana's potential clean sweep of gold medals.

Despite the setbacks, the Ghanaian boxers made significant strides and etched their names in history. Friday, March 22, 2024 was a pivotal moment for the Black Bombers, cheered to victories by a partisan crowd.

Mohammed Aryeetey set the mood at the Bukom Boxing Arena as he defeated Livens Tulembekwa in the men's 48kg final, followed by gold medal-winning feats by Joseph Commey who beat Zambia's Andrew Chilata in the 60kg final, and a technical knockout (TKO) victory by Mohammed Amadu over Zambia's Mwengo Mwale in the men's 54kg final.

Later, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, Samuel Takyi, lived up to his promise by defeating Zambia's Emmanuel Katema in the 63.5kg final for Ghana's fourth gold medal in the ring.

Janet Acquah emerged as a historic figure, becoming Ghana's first-ever female boxing medallist in African Games history by winning bronze in the minimum weight (48kg) category.

“My target was not four gold medals; I am disappointed that an experienced boxer such as Abdul Wahib Omar failed to win gold. Another boxer I expected to win gold was Abubakar Kamoko, but he didn’t,” he told the Graphic Sports.

The most anticipated bout between him and Algeria's Kanouni ended in an anti-climax as the Ghanaian, cheered by his famous father and retired boxer, Braimah Kamoko (Bukom Banku), lost via unanimous points decision and settled for a silver medal.

It is significant to note that all members of the Black Bombers are also professional boxers.

Looking ahead, Coach Asare and his boxers are now focusing on securing qualification spots for the 2024 Paris Olympics. With an upcoming qualification competition scheduled for Thailand in May, they are determined to build on their success at the African Games and punch their tickets to the prestigious Olympic event.

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