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08.06.2004 Boxing

Emulate Azumah’s virtues-Kufuor

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President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on Ghanaians, in all aspects of national life, to emulate the virtues that have earned great boxer, Azumah Nelson, an International Hall of Fame recognition.

“You symbolize all the virtues that I wish all Ghanaians would emulate. Talent, discipline, dedication, nationalism, hard work, benevolence and above all, a good ambassador for Ghana,” the President told the three-time world champion at the Castle, Osu in Accra.

Azumah Nelson was at the Castle to bid farewell to the President prior to his departure to the USA, where he is to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He leaves tomorrow 9 June to participate in the five day event, the climax of which will be the induction ceremony at the Boxing Museum in New York.

The ceremony will bring together over 50 icons from the boxing world to celebrate Africa's turn at the grandest stage of boxing.

President Kufuor stressed, “You proved ours in your chosen field of boxing and it is my desire that Ghanaians, especially the youth, would learn from your shining example and demonstrate those virtues in all aspects of national life,”

The President observed that there were some who attained fulfilment in foreign lands but refused to let the honour reflect on Ghana. “You chose to live here and bring all your glory home. And I assure you that the spirit of Ghanaians will be with you in New York as you are immortalized at the Hall Of Fame”.

In a show of solidarity with an outstanding colleague, Ghana's first world boxing champion, David Kotei and former world flyweight champion Nana Yaw Konadu were there to enrich Azumah's entourage.

Acknowledging the presence of the two other champions and their place in Ghanaian history, President Kufuor paid tribute to past heroes; some of whom he said practiced their trade just for the love of it. But he noted with regret that after expending their youth in the service of their country, “some of them fall on hard time.”

To all such unfortunate heroes, the President pledged a package by his government “to cheer them up and brighten your corner,” noting that it is time Ghanaians learnt to pay for entertainment.

Rashid Bawa, the Minister of State in charge of youth and sports gave a chronology of the Champion's rise to fame and noted that in addition to an outstanding boxing career, Azumah has been a shining example to the youth “showing benevolence to the poor and needy.”

He said it is a great honour for Ghana that an illustrious son of the country has been recognized by the world as worthy of sharing honours with boxing greats like Mohammad Ali and Julio Cesar Chavez.

Present were the Vice-President of the Word Boxing Council (WBC), Nii Cofie Ajenkwa and the Vice-Chairman of the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA), Moses Foh-Amoaning.