Boxing News of Monday, 10 December 2001
…But ex-boxing champions are adamant.
D.K. Poison, Ike Bazooka Quartey and Alfred Cobra Kotey, three boxers who have flown the flag of Ghana and advertised the “gritty” side of “hospitable” Ghanaians in the past, have poured their hearts out to the minister responsible for youth and sports honourable Edward Osei Kwaku “ I am sorry if you have decided to take certain positions due to ill treatment or misunderstanding between yourselves and the past administration”, This was the ministers humble plea.
The surprise apology effectively opens a new page in the love-hate relationship that has existed between some Boxers, the amateur boxing association as well as the umbrella Ghana boxing authority headed by Nii Quaye Mensah.
What is uncertain at this stage is whether to not the ministers apology will be enough to appease the disenchanted parties. Alfred Kotey for instance was blunt “ the GBA don’t care…but they want to take their percentage from every fight…what have they done for us”!
In a no-holds barred face to face chat with the sector minister it was Senior D.K. poison the WBC super-feather-weight world champion between 1975-1976 who lashed out first at the ill treatment he has been subjected to by various individuals and organisations including past regimes. It was probably out of respect for the new minister more than anything else that prevented D.K. Poison from launching an all out verbal assault on past government officials and sports administrators. The man simply would not cool down and even refused to grant interviews after his interaction with the minister.
The bitterness of D.K. Poison’s venom can only be understood if one fully appreciates who he was, who he became and the state he finds himself today. How many times have we heard “ A nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for”
Yet, sad to confess, this is exactly what is happening in Ghana today. Our great champions of the past in the ring, on the athletics tracks and the football fields have to scrap a living in order to survive.
In some cases, former world champions have to literally beg for scraps in order to eat!
Although D.K Poison’s tale is not isolated, it certainly highlights an ugly side of sports that most of us choose to ignore or pretend doesn’t exist. Notable absentees at the meeting called at the instance of the minister were Azumah Nelson and Nana Yaw Konadu. The latter had his beautiful mansion off the spintex almost razed to the ground by a mysterious fire a week ago. Azumah Nelson is out of the country. Nonetheless the minister fired his message across and said without batting an eyelid “ Let us forge ahead to get positive results”
Whether or not the former world champions will heed to the call to join the rebuilding crusade is another issue altogether.
It is understood that the minister was shocked and appalled by what he saw when he toured the boxing capital of Ghana, Bukom. “ How did Ike Quartey and others manage to win world titles from this”? Perhaps another question the minister ought to ask is WHAT HAVE THE GHANA BOXING AUTHORITY BEEN DOING ALL THESE YEARS?
The deplorable condition of our so called gyms have produced champions alright but today as you read this article, can you name one reigning Ghanaian world boxing champion? At the risk of being accused of bashing the GBA without offering constructive solutions and ideas, I have decided to put my services to the GBA and indeed all boxing promoters as well as boxers seeking to raise the standard of boxing in this country. If in the next two years Ghana can produce another world champion, let us all join forces to chase this dream.