After 15 steamy rounds of gym work, a cool shower and oily massage last Wednesday, probably his final endurance test before Friday's World Boxing Council International showdown in Accra, James Toney looked into the giant wall mirror and proclaimed, “ I love what I see.”
His finely muscled upper torso shining like greased ebony, the six-foot-one middleweight puncher relished the shape his body had taken after three months of work. And trainer Godwin Djanie Kotey Alloway concurred that just days to the main event, his fighter had attained the physical and mental discipline required of a world-class fight.“We will use the remaining days to ease up and avoid any injury.”
By the trainer's diligent count, James Toney's present meanness has been shaped by a daily regimen of 12 kilometres run, 10 rounds of sparring, 10 rounds of skipping, and many more of shadow boxing, pad work and the speed ball.
He has sparred with all in the Attoh Quarshie Boxing Gymnasium in Accra from flyweight to heavyweight, with the goal of adding to his power and speed. As James Toney winds up his preparations, his opponent, Mpush Makembi, arrives from South Africa to an elaborate welcome in Accra tomorrow, one week ahead of the July 3 hostility in the ring.
And the South African champion will set the stage alight next Tuesday at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel where he will encounter his foe for the first time. The two and other boxers on the bill will appear for the pre-match meeting and the second press conference to promote the fight.
The La-Palm encounter would offer bantamweight champion Anyetei Laryea, the opportunity to repair his image, dented by his failure to meet his opponent, Jonathan Yartey, at the first press conference held at the Accra Sports Stadium last week.
Other fighters to appear include Braimah Kamoko who engages Babatunde Alimi of Nigeria; Abdulai Aminu and Stephen Okai who are contenders in the superlight weight as well as middleweights Ayitey Powers and Mohammed Konde, who fight for the national and West Africa titles.