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25.08.2004 Sports News

Doubts over Yahaya, Adama Commonwealth title fight

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Accra, Aug 25, GNA - There appears to be a crack in the organisation of the Commonwealth super welterweight title fight between holder Osumanu "Osie Duran" Yahaya and Osumanu Adama which was supposed to climax the 25th Commonwealth Awards in Accra on October 30. boxers, which would not be bridged by any level of pugilistic diplomacy.

While Emmanuel Nii Oblie Armah manager of Adama, the challenger, claimed the champion was afraid and had therefore failed to sign the contract despite the 3,000 pounds sterling purse he was offering, Alhaji Muritala Tofik, manager of the champion accused the opposite camp of gross violation of procedures.

Nii Armah said he routed the contract through the trainer of the boxer who returned it unsigned a week later, claiming that Ossie Duran had been billed to defend his title against Wayne Alexandra on September 10 at York Hall in the United Kingdom and could therefore not fight Adama on October 30. He said he had investigated and found out that Mr Azumah Coffie who arranges fights for Ghanaian boxers overseas coined the tale to thwart the contest for personal selfish interests because he had no stake in the Accra fight.

Tendering a copy of the Daily Mirror to support his claim, Nii Armah said Wayne Alexandra was scheduled to fight Takaloo on September 10 at York Hall and Ossie Duran had no fixture with anybody on the said date. He said he and his business partner, Alhaji Tofik had agreed on a match up between their boxers before Ossie Duran won the title and he did not understand why they would want to disappoint the fans and the big wigs in Commonwealth boxing by turning their backs on the date.

Nii Armah said he felt the managers of Ossie Duran were trying to protect him because they were sure he would lose to Adama in a very disgraceful manner. In his reaction, Alhaji Tofik described the claims of his rival manager as "a big lie," adding that to the best of his knowledge, Adama was not ripe to step into the ring with his boxer. "Adama has fought only eight times and we were all trying to help him to build a better record and it was based on that premise that we staged the last fight at the Kanashie Sports Complex and incurred a loss of 21 million cedis."

He said Nii Armah did not consult him and did not discuss anything with him about the fight and that all he heard was that his partner had told people that he (Tofik) was not the manager of Ossie Duran. "If my partner claimed I was not the manager of Yahaya, then he should go and look for the manager of the champion and discuss the fight with him." Alhaji Tofik said he heard Nii Armah had given a contract to Emmanuel "Akisseh" Teiko Tagoe, trainer of Yahaya and wondered how a trainer could arrange a fight for a boxer without the consent of the manager.

He said Yahaya's title defence was tied to a clause in the title fight, which guaranteed Tommy Gilmore, a Scottish promoter the right to stage two mandatory fights involving Yahaya before he would be free to fight on other promoters' bills. Alhaji Tofik said Nii Armah knew the existence of such an arrangement and wondered why he should go public announcing a date with Yahaya when he knew it was technically not possible at the moment. He said Nii Armah had pulled Adama out of some important fights including a Commonwealth title fight, claiming that Adama was not ripe for the big stage and advised him not to be envious of Yahaya but to concentrate on his boxer and get him into good shape before clamouring for a title fight. "Boxing is business and the right thing must be done in the interest of the sport," Alhaji Tofik added.

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