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05.03.2005 Sports News

Okine wins commonwealth title

Okine wins commonwealth title
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Accra, March 5, GNA - Joshua "Bukom Tsatsu" Okine of Ghana, on Saturday morning presented boxing fans with an Independence anniversary present, when he became the new Commonwealth Welterweight champion after knocking out Fatau Onikeke of Nigeria in the eighth round, at the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex.

The bout, which was put together by Ambition and Obric Sala Promotions, was part of the 48th celebration of Ghana's Independence. The victory was however a sweet one for the Ghanaian who missed an opportunity to win the same title when he lost to another Ghanaian Osmanu Yahaya last year.

The title became vacant when Yahaya moved up to the Super Welterweight division and was subsequently won by the Nigerian. It was also the end of the reign of the hard punching Nigerian boxer who has to his records 15 fights without a defeat but has never fought outside his country, as against the Ghanaian who had experienced one defeat after 15 fights.

Okine who was poised to keep the title in Ghana exhibited his determination to carry the day right from round one, as he was the first to attack his opponent, jabbing nicely and consistently as well delivering occasional hefty punches while Onikeke took to the defence. The Ghanaian maintained his style in the second round and it became obvious the Nigerian was out for a killer punch and never made any effort to jab but was all out for a knock out.

This proved elusive as Okine combined his great skill, swift dodges and reach to deny him the opportunity.

As the fight progressed, the Nigerian stuck to his plan though it was not working, while Okine also maintained the level of attack on him and succeeded in delivering more accurate punches unto his face and head.

The punches however lacked the power to send the champion to the canvas on many occasions.

Okine could have ended the fight in the fourth when he launched an intensive attack on Onikeke, working on every part of the body with no reply, but the final delivery did not possess what was needed to end the fight.

With much strength and energy as his weapons but deficient in height, Onikeke, in the fifth round responded with a barrage of punches and nearly had his strategy working but Okine maintained his composure and carried it through the sixth round.

In the seventh round, Okine took total control of the fight and punished his opponent with a lot overhead punches from both hands and managed to send Onikeke to the canvas, through the ropes of the ring with a powerful left hook.

The boxer survived the count of the referee and returned into the ring for the fight to continue and was only saved by the bell. From here it was glaring that, the Ghanaian had got the fight to himself as he quickly continued with further attacks on the Nigerian in the eight round.

The round became a one sided affair and Onikeke had no option than to defend unsuccessfully as Okine subjected him to severer punishments, which attracted the attention of the ring side doctors calling on the referee to stop the fight.

Despite the inability of the Nigerian to put up a single defence, whilst under going the punishment, Referee Tony Legson, also from Nigeria remained adamant and allowed the fight to proceed until the corner men threw in the towel in one minute and two seconds of the eight round.

In other fights, the National and West Africa Lightweight championship between Ben Ankrah and Bilal Mohamed was declared a no contest, after the former retired in the fourth round as a result of abdominal problems.

Abdulai Amidu knocked out Roland Mills in two minutes and 36 seconds of the fourth round in their eight round Lightweight contest while Galley Cudjoe's left hook in two minutes, 46 seconds on Herbert Quartey in the first round of a Bantamweight contest became the fastest fight of the night.

In a Welterweight contest, Baba Musah failed to return to the ring after the second round when he clashed with Joseph Kwadjoe and Thomas Awimbono recorded a unanimous decision over Gabriel Adoku in another Welterweight contest.

Joseph Laryea defeated Odalai Lamptey on points in a six round Featherweight contest.

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