In a rare display of verbal wits and character, two of Ghana's current boxing faces captured attention last Friday, as they engaged in a battle with wrong weapons — mouths rather than fists.
“Ataa Djata is too ugly to beat me and I am too smart to lose to a nonentity,” declared ABU lightweight champion, Abdulai Amidu, in a modest mastery of the English language. Seated among high profile personalities at high table, Amidu naturally raised himself into that class: “Even though he is a natural super lightweight, I possess superior technique. On no occasion can he stand my skill and strength.”
But these remarks would attract a sharp response from the target, whose presence at the news conference to announce their July 3 date for the national super lightweight title created enough tension in equal terms as the main fight has generated.“Experience is the best teacher. He is my junior in the business and so shall it remain forever,” Stephen 'Ataa Djata' Okine boasted.
Jonathan Yartey, who fights Anyetei Laryea for the national super bantamweight title on the same bill, read meaning into his opponent's absence from the function. “He cannot stand my presence here, how can he face me in the ring?”
Displaying a face rendered lean by days of gym work, plus a conscious neglect for favourite delicacies to maintain the right weight, the Bukom born-and-bred Yartey taunted the absentee national and West Africa batamweight king: “He has had his time in the past; this is another era, my era.”
The occasion was the launch of the WBC International middleweight title fight between Ghana's James Toney and Mpush Makembi of South Africa at the Accra Stadium. The South African is expected to arrive on June 26 for the July 3 fight. In his absence Toney's calm nerves were as relaxed as ever, as he declared, “come and see the real Toney and you will never forget it”.
But the day belonged to the famous Braimah Kamoko, a.k.a. Bukom Banku, who fights Nigeria's Babatunde Alimi in an international light heavyweight contest on that night. “I am going to be world champion this year, I tell you no lie. Babatunde does not deserve to last long with me; I am sorry he has chosen the wrong path.”
Claiming excellence in the English language, notwithanding, Kamoko applauded Ayittey Powers' “ability without sensibility is barbarism” made in reference to his date with Mohammed Kunde for the national and West Africa middleweight clash.