The warm evening of 21 July 2018 had the Bukom Boxing Arena was blessed with the celebration of one illustrious son of the sport in Ghana Azumah “The Boxing Professor” Nelson turned 60 on 19 July, 2018 and a special
Professor Azumah Nelson is one that has indeed come from humble beginnings and is now adjudged as arguably the greatest boxing product from the African continent.
What led Azumah Nelson to boxing is indeed a question a lot of people will probably want to ask.
However, Nelson in speaking to Ghana web was indeed able to uncover all there was in what got him to be the “Azumah Nelson” we all know and love.
“My father wanted to be a boxer but my grandfather did not allow him and he always loved the sport.
He will always go to watch people fighting. One day, he took me to go watch one of the fights and there were two boys who were fighting that day. The one who lost came crying or should I say sweating. However, when I saw his wet face I wanted to go out there and fight the one who won. I told my father I wanted to fight and he responded okay and before I realized we had returned home.
I was telling my father to take me somewhere because I want to fight. One day I saw a man and a small boy close to my mother’s family house. I saw the man holding a small sized pair of boxing shoes. I watched the feat of the boy and I could tell that the shoes were for the boy. I walked to man and asked if he (the boy) was a boxer. The man replied positively and I told the man I could beat the small boy.”
The man replied by saying I couldn’t and he asked me to come by his gym if I wanted to fight the boy.
He also gave me the date and the time to come as well. I waited patiently for the time he gave me and I then called my friends to accompany me to the gym in order to witness my first fight.
I got to the gym and the coach after recalling the discussion we had put the gloves on me and the boy and we started fighting. The boy swerved every punch I sent out and replied with some punches. He did beat me very well.
On my way back home, my friends were silent so was I and I was thinking to myself that I had disappointed them.
I then sat back and reflected on what I did wrong in the fight. I kept on going to the gym and fighting with the guy till I finally beat him after the 5th bout with the boy.
I stayed at the gym until the trainer Attoquaye Quartey who had been transferred to Kumasi came back to set up a new gym and my coach sent me there.
That was where I started afresh and started learning basic skills in boxing.”
These lessons of passion can be learnt from this story. Azumah Nelson’s father wanted to be a boxer was obviously proud of his son as he saw his son living the dream.
However, he did not force his son into that dream of his. He indeed waited for his son to develop that passion naturally and that got Azumah Nelson motivated enough to keep getting better at the sport.
Azumah Nelson in that same interview with GhanaWeb stated that his father being a tailor supported him throughout his amateur boxing days.
His father sewed his shorts with the inscriptions “Terrible Terror, Courageous Azumah Nelson, Mighty Warrior and also helped him improve his punching skills.
You can easily deduce that Azumah Nelson’s father as a tailor used his craft to help out and encourage Azumah Nelson to go onto higher heights. A number of parents in different walks of life are indeed very unconcerned as to what exactly our children want to do. This should encourage parents to put in efforts to at least have passion for whichever endeavor their ward wants to enter and encourage that ward to help out.
The Azumah Nelson Fight Night had a number of fans who were interested in the sport converge at the Bukom Boxing Arena for witness some fine boxing action.
Pulse Sports went round to at least inquire who will be the next Azumah Nelson. The favorite pick was the WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Isaac Dogboe.
Dogboe in his rise to the top has portrayed outright passion for what he has been doing. Dogboe has been part of a process who has been humble and determined to put everybody away to the apex of the WBO boxing ladder.
Dogboe who put school on hold to embark on a quest to be a World Champion. Now that he has finally achieved his goal he can now re structure his time in school.
In all this, he had his father Paul Dogboe rallying behind him and that is all evidence of passion from parents pushing their children to greater things.
We then move on to a boxer whose passion for boxing can be questioned. Joshua Clottey has been one time won WBA International Super Welterweight and WBA Welterweight Title.
Clottey has clearly stated that he did learn boxing as a kid but he will not advise his son to be boxer because of the pain in the game.
“I have a son in the US, I will kill him if he decides to be a boxer. Even my friend, I will not advice him to be a boxer. That’s why I always tell people not to be jealous of boxers because our job is too tough. Boxing is natural, there’s no artificial.
Clearly, it will be difficult for anyone to be convinced that this individual shares the same passion for the sport as that of Azumah Nelson and Isaac Dogboe.
We have had seen scenarios from individuals and parents but passion from the government concerning the game is one that can be paramount to unimaginable success.
His Excellency Rawlings who was Ghana’s Head of State for most part of his career developed some affinity for Azumah Nelson through his passion for the sport.
Azumah Nelson joined the Black Bombers and fought for the nation twice in 1978. Nelson saw boxing as a means to an end as he wanted to join the military at the time. However, the Head of State Jerry John Rawlings who was a military ruler at the time stopped him from being a soldier. Azumah Nelson revealed this in an interview with GhanaWeb
“To the Former President, Jerry John Rawlings, I say a big thank you for the love and support. He [Rawlings] saw the talent and believed in me and today I say thank you for discouraging me from joining the Army,
The passion of Jerry John Rawlings considering the sport was quite immense and the manner in which he supported his career was amazing.
Rawlings saw Azumah Nelson and the group of Black bombers he supervised as so delicate to the extent that he personally cleaned after the group at training.
“When I was amateur, he was taking care of us, and we were supposed to go to World Olympic Games, there was one guy in the military who was American and he was always beating his opponents, he always took the Gold. But Rawlings realized I could beat that guy”
“Rawlings came around when we trained at Volunteer force, he comes there every day, sometimes when we finished training, he will sweep the place for us, he didn’t want us to do anything.He will clean all the rooms. He would then bring food for us, beans and other things. Since then we became friends”
All Heads of States, Sports Ministers of the current and future dispensation will be of help if they exhibited similar passion and invested similar time in the sport.
The step to grow our next champion who would dazzle the world for the span of 10 years is passion which gives birth to discipline which will canvass resources and the talent for development is all we need.
Passion from boxers, People in power and the general public is all we need to build the next Azumah “Zoom Zoom” Nelson