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04.05.2004 Sports News

WBC Chance For Toney

By Michael Quaye
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Ghana's James Obedi Toney stands on the verge of history and fame, as he awaits South African Mpush Makembi for a showdown in Accra for the WBC International middleweight belt.

The fight, scheduled for the Accra Stadium on July 3, comes almost a year after the Ghanaian blew away the chance when he lost the same title to then champion, Sergey Tatevosyan of Russia.

The fight against the South African is also expected to fill the spate of disappointments suffered by the Ghanaian in his pursuit of a major title after at least two Commonwealth championship fights for him were cancelled between late last year and early this year.

But the arrangement of the Makembi fight appears to have dealt with more than just the quest for a mentioning among one-time champions of the WBC International. Victory for either boxer will shoot Toney or Makembi up into the top 10 contenders of the WBC crown proper, held by America's Bernard Hopkins, who is, in fact, the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.

But Makembi, the South African national champion and ranked fifth by the Commonwealth, carries an impressive record of 25-8-3 into the bou.Toney, the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) 2002 Best Boxer and currently ABU middleweight king, is 18-1 (17 KOs) and lies 27th on the WBC rankings to Hopkins' title.

Also ranked among the first 15 on the Commonwealth, Toney has already been handed a mandatory attempt at the vacant British Empire crown.According to Ekow Johnson of Landmark Promotions and Management Syndicate, managers of Toney and promoters of the July 3 fight, their ward is set to reverse the pain of last year's loss to Tatevosyan in Moscow.

On that fateful May 29, 2003 night, Toney fought a day after arriving in the cold Rusian capital after a four-day journey from Ghana.In spite of the jet lag, his performance was hailed as simply outstanding upon which basis WBC International Chairman, Mauro Betti, wrote to his managers expressing his profound admiration for the Ghanaian's output barely seven days later.

On the undercard, Toney's stablemate, Ange Adjaho, is expected to take on Kpakpo Allotey for the latter's ABU featherweight title. ABU lightweight champion, Abdulai Amidu, also fights former WBC International super featherweight champion, Dramani Nabalun of Burkina Faso, in a WBC International eliminator while Joseph Agbeko fights for the Commonwealth featherweight title on the same bill.

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