Boxing is one of the many well-known sporting disciplines in Ghana. The West African country has a rich boxing history and boasts very talented and elite boxers including former world champion and international Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, Azumah Nelson.
Six of Ghana’s nine world champions have emerged from Bukom, a small underprivileged fishing community in the national capital, Accra.
At Bukom, where boxing is reckoned as a serious business, there are over 20 boxing academies dedicated to grooming talents for the next generation of Ghanaian boxers.
Theophilus Edwin Addo is the coach of Akotuku Boxing Academy located in the area.
The academy aims to give young boxers the opportunity to learn the rudiments of the sport at a tender age and develop them into world champs.
The boxing school has been in existence since the late 1970s.
Here, very young boxers from age nine are groomed and taught how to fight.
“Our objective is to just train and get the best out of the boys we have here,” Addo told Xinhua in an interview.
“We want to live by the legacies of the legendary D.K. Poison, the Azumah Nelsons, and the Ike Quarteys. So we are following that suit; that is the main aim we are looking up to. That is, we want to get a world championship.”
The Akotuku academy gets its boxers from talent hunting while others come on their own to learn the rudiments of the game.
Emmanuel Clottey, a 15-year-old young boxer who is training at the academy, was brought to the gym by his father who was once a boxer in Bukom, a community regarded as the hotbed for fighters.
The teenager spends hours each day after school at an out-of-doors gym, aiming to realize his dream of becoming Ghana’s future world title holder.
“I want to be somebody like Azumah Nelson and Floyd Mayweather. That’s what I want to be in future,” said Clottey.
Seidu Abdul Fatau, a senior high school graduate, trekked hundreds of kilometers all the way from northern Ghana to join the Akotuku Academy as a trainee.
He told Xinhua that he was happy to follow his passion and advised young Ghanaians to join them as perhaps they could become the country’s next world champion.
“The advice I have for the young brothers and kids around is just to tell them that if you see that boxing is your talent, try to push yourself. Don’t wait till the time will pass by.”
Though the various boxing gyms have produced world class fighters for Ghana, they lack basic equipment and continue to train in dilapidated places.
The boxers are therefore calling on the government to support them by investing in the sport.
“To the government, we are asking them to come to our aid because we are already doing a yeoman’s job, producing people to represent Ghana at every level of competitions,” Addo said.
“If we get a little equipment to augment what we are doing, we will be so much happy and Ghana will not ever lack medals at any games.” Enditem