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06.05.2004 Sports News

Another former boxer slams GABA

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Accra, May 6, GNA - Napoleon Tagoe a former World Boxing Council (WBC) cruiserweight contender and now proprietor of Willpower Boxing Gymnasium at James Town in Accra has joined the crusade by retired boxers for the dissolution of the Ghana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA)

Speaking to the GNA Sports on Wednesday, the retired boxer said he was appalled by the downward trend of amateur boxing in the country culminating in the inability of any Ghanaian boxer to qualify for this year's Athens Olympic Games.

"GABA has failed to select the best boxers into the Black Bombers and those of us who tried to raise our voices were ignored and the result is the hopeless failure that has befallen the nation."

Tagoe said though he was never a world champion during his career, he distinguished himself and rose to the top to fight for the world title against Juan Carlos Gomez on December 12, 1999 in Germany and even though he lost by a ninth round knockout, he gained enough experience and expertise to be able to advise a listening GABA.

"I realised that the training regiment of the Bombers was not up to the standard and when I complained to Mr Eddie Duplan, Chairman of the GABA, he became angry and rubbished my suggestions."

He said he organised an amateur boxing tournament involving all boxing gyms in Accra at the premises of City Engineers last year for the purpose of identifying talents for the national team but those connected to the national team belittled his effort and failed to capitalise on the opportunity to revamp the team.

The proprietor of Willpower Boxing Gym said at the end of his tournament, he raised a team for the Greater Accra Region and manoeuvred to pitch them against the Bombers but the opportunity was vehemently abused, as decisions were stage managed to favour the Bombers in order to establish a false stance of competence and capability for the trainers and boost the egos of members of the association.

He said instead of the GABA selecting the discoveries of the Willpower Tournament into an alternative squad to challenge the Bombers for membership of the national team, they were ignored thereby forcing most of them to turn professional in order to participate in the Mortein Tournament.

Tagoe said there should be no excuse whatsoever for the failure of our boxers to qualify for Athens because they had good support from the government and trained in Cuba before the final eliminator in Botswana and their failure only means that the technical team and the administrators lack the know-how to develop the sport.

He advised the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council to reconstitute GABA and the national technical team to include retired boxers of note, who can impart the right techniques to the boxers to reverse the plummeting form that the sport has taken. Last month, Adama Mensah, former African Boxing Union (ABU) heavyweight champion who also had the distinction of winning gold and silver medals at the World Military Championship and the Commonwealth Games respectively as an amateur called of the dissolution GABA citing the poor state of the sport.