Mr Koichi Uchida, Director of Jhana Company Limited and the Jhana Kickboxing Gym, says next Saturday's West African Kickboxing tournament at the Prisons Canteen will mark a new beginning for the development of the sport in the country.
Mr Uchida, who spoke to the Daily Graphic after a media launch at the Prisons Canteen yesterday, gave the assurance that his outfit would use regular competitions to develop the sport.
“We want to make this sport an alternative for the youth such that Ghana can become a strong kickboxing nation internationally. After observing sports in Ghana we realise that introducing something new was the best because everybody is channelling resources towards football,” he revealed.
He said though the sport was perceived as hazardous, a safer version known as K-1 has been introduced which ensures more safety for fighters who wear gloves with their attacking limited to kicking and punching.
“There is also a ring side doctor to attend to anyone who gets injured. Two referees and two judges will also come from Japan to conduct a seminar for the local referees to know the technicalities of the sport better,” he revealed.
According to him a delegation from Japan, led by Mr Hikiro Ishibashi, CEO of IBS, sole sponsor of the project, will be in Ghana to grace the tournament.
Featuring on the bill will be 16 crack kickboxers in the under 65kg and above 65 kg weight categories. The winners in each weight category will take home a championship belt and a cash prize of $500.
In the under 65kg group are Ebenezer Tackie, Francis Dodoo, Samuel Annan, Stephen Bruce, Reginald Dodoo, Emmanuel Appiah, James Bekoe and Patrick Arthur.
Fighting in the above 65kg group are Isaac Aikins, Justice Lartey, Edward Ahwasson, Henry Abbey, Boye, Daniel Abbey, Eddie H. Quansah and Okoe Arafat.
There will be an exhibition bout between Harry Maxwell and Tettey Boye. Admission is free and bouts will start at 5 p.m.
Story by Nathaniel Attoh