Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

'Crown' Prince ready for the throne

Ebo Quansah

Ebo Quansah assesses the chances of another promising Ghanaian boxer in a forthcoming world title contest.
It is quite out of the ordinary for two nationals of even the advanced sporting nations to battle for world championships within a space of one week. That is why this week must hold a special appeal to the entire citizenry of a struggling third world country, Ghana, whose two sons, Azumah Nelson and Prince Mama Muhammed go into action for world championships in professional boxing in the Hollywood tinsel town of Los Angeles.

World Boxing Council featherweight champion, Azumah Nelson, defends his title for the third time in as many months against Marcos Villassana of Mexico on Saturday December 7, while Prince Muhammed faces the challenge of J B Williamson of the United States for the World light-heavyweight crown vacated by Micheal Spinks following his heavy- weight triumph over Larry Holmes on Tuesday December 10.

After four world championship bouts, Azumah must be settling into a familiar role. And on current form, the Ghanaian, now considered a very important ambassador to Rawlings Revolutionary government should have one of his easy pay-days.

Azumah, who won the national amateur flyweight championship in 1976, brought home a gold medal in the 1977 World- Military Games, turned professional in 1980, won both the African and Commonwealth featherweight championships long before the advent of the December 31, 1981 Holy War and even challenged Salvador Sanchez of Mexico for the world championship through the efforts of the Ringcraft Promotions syndicate before the Government began showing interest in his welfare, is, according to Mr Amarkai Amarteifio, Youth and Sports Secretary of Ghana "a product of the revolution".

While one cannot be sure of when the revolution produced him, one could vouch for his durability and punching power, two vital ingredients for success in the noble art of self-defence.

Testimonies to this effect have already been given by Britain's Pat Cowdell, the veteran featherweight campaigner who suffered his first ever knock-down, from that two-minute wonderful experience that left him lying on his back long after Mexican referee Octovio Meyran had completed the count in the very first round of his challenge contest at Birm- ingham's National Exhibition Centre on Saturday, October 12.

Wilfredo Gomez, Puerto Rican World super featherweight champion, from whom Azumah snatched his title on December 8, last year with an eleventh round knock-out and Juneval Ordenas of Chile, who could not last five rounds could also testify to Azuma's venom.

Villassana, the man who should have challenged the Ghanaian as far back as last April was by-passed for Ordenas of Chile when an unranked fellow Mexican whipped him into submission in a 10-round non-title bout in Mexico City. With that blemish on his record Villas- sana will go all out to re-establish himself as a worthy campaigner capable of filling the vacuum created by the death of fellow Mexican Salvador Sanchez.

No matter how hard he tries, the Mexican will end his challenge in this 12-round contest lying on his back. There cannot be two ways about that.

Like Azumah whose footsteps he follows, Prince Mama Muhammed turned professional in 1980, the year Ghana turned its back on the Olympic Games in Moscow. He was with Azumah on the rostrum in the 1977 World Military Games with a gold medal.

After a few tourneys back home, Prince Muhammed moved to the United States, Mecca of professional boxing to perfect his art. For quite a time, there was no information about his exploits in the ring until last year when news started flowing about his brilliant outings.

Whatever be the case the crown Prince must be ready to ascend the throne on Tuesday. A record of 32 wins, a draw and a single loss in 34 outings must be envi- able even by Muhammed Ali's standard. And no matter the reputation of Williamson who goes into the ring seeking his 22nd win in 23 fights, Mama must be the sure candidate for the throne.

History is on his side to turn the tide. It was in the same forum where David Kotei Poison, snatched the world featherweight championship from Rueben Olivaries of Mexico in September 1975. And Mama must emulate the late Dick Tiger of Nigeria who became the first African to have won the world light-heavyweight title.

It is generally believed that Africans are only…

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