Ghana’s International Boxing Federation Lightweight Champion, Richard Oblitey Commey says the state of boxing in the country is so bad that, someone like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the investigative journalist is needed to go into the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) and clean it up.
When corruption was believed to have clogged the Ghana Football Association, an undercover investigation by Anas exposed some main actors leading to some dismissals.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with ghanabusinessnews.com, Commey said the state of boxing in Ghana is very bad.
“The GBA is not doing what it’s supposed to do,” he said.
According to Commey, who doesn’t fight under the GBA, he is licensed in the US, says some managers have wrong intentions for the sport.
“As a businessman, you should be aware of the risks. Some of these managers will come in, they spend very little and within a short time, they expect to gain more than they have invested. If you come with this mindset, there is no way you are going to push this sport,” he said.
He said some of them manage a boxer for a couple of years and then whatever fight comes the way of the boxer, they put him out there just to make their money. It shouldn’t be that way.
“Look at what happened to our one and only Heavyweight boxer, Harrison (Richard Nii Lartey, WBO Heavyweight Africa Champion), look at what he went through before he went to fight in the UK. And up until now, he still hasn’t got his money,” he added.
Asked what can be done to save the situation, he said: “I think we need someone like Anas, so that they will get expose them and we kick them out.”
He said whatever money the managers put in, they are going to get it back anyway.
“The attitude of the managers and coaches towards the boxers are wrong and bad, because they think they are doing the boxer a favour. They treat them as slaves and expect them to follow everything they tell them. They should treat the boxers well, because even if they haven’t been to school, they have talent. The way they see the boxers is not encouraging. The way they treat the boxers is very bad,” he said.
From football to kickboxing to boxing
Commey who defeated Raymundo Beltran by a knockout in June 2019, spoke about his transition from football, to kickboxing and then to boxing.
“I never thought of becoming a boxer. When kickboxing came to Ghana, I was chosen and I went to Japan in 2007. I went to take a look at how the whole thing works so I will come back home and return to fight. But my trainer asked me to follow him to Dubai. I became the right-hand man for him. I trained people in kickboxing. I also trained. I had a couple of fights there and I won them all,” he said.
While in Dubai, he I made friends with people from around the world. It was some of them who kept urging him to do boxing.
“But I said no. I’d rather play football as boxing is not my thing,” he said.
He then met the former secretary of Don King, Jason Robinson who asked him to follow him to the US to do boxing.
“But I asked him to speak to my trainer and seek his permission, because I always want to remain loyal. But my trainer objected, and said he had plans for me. Then I met another trainer from the US, who was training the first professional boxer from the UAE and I sparred him. I returned to Ghana in 2009 and waited for the start of the New Year 2010 and then started boxing,” he told ghanabusinessnews.com.
Few months later, he met his current manager, Michael Amoh-Bediako from the UK.
“Someone directed him to my gym and he said I see something in this guy. He saw my coach and said he wanted to work with me. I told him I want to be a world champion. I didn’t want him to start and then abandon me along the line,” he said.
On the future of boxing
Asked what the future of boxing is for him, he said; “I believe in God. I just have to keep working hard, focus and keep praying. I don’t know what the future holds. As far as I work hard I believe God has plans for me. I will continue to work hard and if he takes me as far as he wants, then so be it.”
He however, added, “I want to be one of the best boxers Ghana has ever produced, by winning multiple titles for Ghana. If you look at the records, I don’t think anyone has ever done that for Ghana. I pray that God will give me the strength and opportunity to do that.
You know boxing chose me, and if this is the reason why God chose me, then so be it.”
On his most memorable fight
“When I won the Commonwealth title in London in 2014. Fighting someone in his own country, a British. Even though I trained hard for the fight, I didn’t know what would happen. As Africans when we go out there to fight, we are always the underdog. You might be fighting this guy and he will commit a lot of fouls, but the referee might ignore, but when you commit a small foul, for which they should warn you, they wouldn’t warn you, they would deduct a point straight away. And when you have all these on your mind, you might have trained, you might have the confidence, but you will be scared,” he noted.
“This guy was big and he came to fight. But I gave him the beating of his life. That was my toughest fight ever, so far,” Commey added.
Commey fought Welshman, Gary Buckland.
Commey and his manager have started a non-profit to help young boxers, Streetwise Foundation, he told ghanabusinessnews.com.
Commey who is the Ambassador of the Foundation says, looking at the state of Ghana boxing, the Foundation is to help the young ones coming up.
“See the talent, nurture and guide them, lead them and teach them what a boxer should know and the business aspect of it. How a boxer should behave, giving them the right information that boxers need,” he said.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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