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21.11.2008 Boxing

Azumah Receives Dennie Mancini Prize

> Azumah Receives Dennie Mancini Prize

Ghana's boxing legend, Professor Barima Azumah Nelson, was last Tuesday awarded the 2008 'Dennie Mancini' prize for boxing excellence at a luncheon jointly hosted by the Commonwealth Boxing Council and the British Boxing Board of Control in London.

The 'Dennie Mancini' prize which takes the form of a bronze bust was instituted by the Commonwealth Boxing Council to immortalise the name and memory of the late Mr Dennie Mancini, a renowned manager, trainer, agent and second who, according to the CBC, sat on their board as an advisor when it was first reconstituted in 1972 and then later represented Australian National Boxing Board.

He had been associated with some of the greatest names in boxing such as Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, John Clark, Nigel Benn and recently Ricky Hatton.

He was also director of the famous sportswear company, Lonsdale. He died last year. The two previous winners have been the Commonwealth Bantamweight Champion Tshifhiwa Munyai of South Africa in 2006 and the Commonwealth Light Middle Weight Champion Bradley Price of Wales in 2007.

According to the CBC, although Professor Azumah Nelson has retired from active boxing, the award was given to him as a consequence of his setting up of the Azumah Nelson Foundation and giving to others opportunities that might otherwise not be available to them. It was also to recognise his support for and contributions to upholding the best traditions and aims of the CBC, the boxing profession and the Commonwealth itself in the previous 12 months.

The chairman of the CBC, Professor Ingram Singh, also paid tribute to Prof Azumah Nelson for his long list of achievements and bringing distinction to boxing both as a champion of the Commonwealth and the World. The Prof was accompanied to the function by his wife, Peggy, Mr Yoofi Boham, a boxing promoter, Ghana's Deputy High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland, Mr Zed Grant Essilfie who represented H.E. the High Commissioner and officials of the high commission.

In his acceptance speech, Professor Azumah Nelson traced his humble beginnings from an unknown street fighter to a world boxing champion and said it had always been his wish to give opportunities to others to aspire to where he has reached and beyond.

He announced the establishment of the Azumah Nelson Foundation which he said was dedicated to helping thousands of children across Ghana and Africa, who otherwise would have been condemned to lives of misery and crime.

He said many of those children were those who may not get the opportunity which some of them had to develop their God, given talents.

Story By Nana Sifa Twum, London