Yours Truly had an exclusive interview with Referee Michael Neequaye on how to educate boxing fans on some of their roles and duties in the ring, and what they can do to protect and promote the sport.
Mr. Neequaye is one of the accomplished boxing referees in Africa and beyond. He has officiated many local and international bouts.
Here are excerpts.
1(SHO). How difficult is the job of a Boxing Referee?
(MN) The job of a Boxing Referee is not too difficult if you are able to do these few things and have some qualities.
First of all, one must have a passion for the sport which will help them to be at their best in terms of officiating.
One must know the rules and learn them by heart as it states categorically in our officiating rules book, because an official needs just a second to take a decision in the ring.
If one is assigned for a championship bout, that person must make sure they don’t drink alcohol twenty-four (24) hours prior to the bout, must not eat anything heavy five (5) hours prior to the bout, and must have enough rest on the day of the contest. Because, the body and the mind must be ready for the bout.
If one is able to do these few things, they will be at their best.
2 (SHO). When was your most difficult bout?
(MN) I personally have not had difficult bout in terms of officiating, because if you know what you are about especially applying the rules well in the ring everything should be fine, but sometimes I do have bad days especially taking certain decisions in the ring and after the bout I will say to myself I should have done it in a different way but the decision has already been taken.
3 (SHL). What advise to Coaches and Boxers?
(MN) I think trainers and coaches play a vital role in the life of the boxers, so my advise to them is that;
I. They should always have the mind (mentality) to help and protect their boxers when they are going through a lot of punishment in the ring.
The trainer must know when the boxer is hurt and when to stop it to protect the boxers because if they don’t, the Referee will because the life of the boxers are in the hands of the Referee.
I I. If a trainer thinks a decision has been taken against their boxers in the ring, jumping into the ring to attack the referee is not the best as most of them do but rather they should file a protest to the Ghana Boxing Authority for the case to be looked at.
4 (SHO) . Do you have an advise to Boxing Fans?
(MN) Without the fans there will not be Boxing so they also play a role in sport, game and business.
My advise to the spectators at the venue is, they should always come to Boxing Tournament to be entertained and not to bring confusion and chaos where the fight is held.
Most recently in our Boxing League, some fans have been throwing objects in the ring whenever a result is mentioned which I think is not the best.
5 (SHO). Your personal view of the Professional Boxing League?
(MN) I think the Boxing League so far has been good, especially for the young boxers coming up and giving them the platform to be seen.
I think it can be much better if the organisers and the Authority consider selling of tickets because the free gate to the arena is bringing a lot of issues as different type of characters enter the arena to cause chaos and confusion halting the fights.