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15.06.2005 Sports News

Ike Shocked By Visa Refusal


Ike Quartey has expressed his utter disappointment at the way four members of his entourage were refused visas by the US Embassy in Accra to the USA for his fight on Saturday.

The former WBA welterweight champion considered returning home and abandoning his second comeback fight due to this development but for the timely counselling from his long-time trainer and friend, Oko Odamtten.

In a telephone interview with the Graphic from Pennsylvania last Monday, Ike said he was saddened by the fact that his team was refused visas without any reason. “We were all going there for genuine reasons,” he said.

Ike Quartey and his coach left town last week without his team because the US Embassy visa section in Accra was delaying and they had to get there in good time to round up preparations. He, however, left town in the expectation that the team would be granted the visas later on to join him in the US.

According to Ike, he has to spend more money to hire a sparring partner and ringside attendants in addition to the many inconveniences the visa refusal has caused him.

“I was going there with my team to raise high the flag of Ghana, and not only to satisfy my personal ambition”, he said in a disturbed tone.

In a separate interview Coach Oko Odamtten said he had to spend a lot of time counselling his boxer who was demoralised since this was the first time such a thing is happening.

“I think this was an example of one of the many obstacles that every human is confronted with in life, but we will overcome it. We need our team badly, but as it is now we have to manage the situation, so we will get over it and move ahead,” he said.

He expressed the hope that such a thing would not be repeated by the US Embassy Visa Section in the future since it had many negative rippling effects.

Meanwhile the Bazookaman is putting finishing touches to his training in anticipation of the 31st knockout of his 17-year-old career against Verno Jeremias Phillips.