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08.07.2005 Sports News

Media urged to help correct wrong perception about Bazooka


Accra, July 8, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports on Friday called on the sporting media to help correct the negative perception about former WBA Welterweight champion, Ike Quartey, to serve as a morale booster for the boxer get to the top.

Ike, also known as Bazooka has been perceived by the public as arrogant and disrespectful ever since the then world champion blocked the main entrance of the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium with his vehicle to protest against the refusal of the National Sports Council (NSC) officials to allow him free entry to the stadium during a football match.

The perception got to the zenith when he blatantly refused to pay the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) its share of the purse after his crunch bout with "Golden boy" Dela Hoya in 1999; but that decision was later rescinded.

After the fight, a sizable number of boxing fans, particularly those from his native Bukom, openly jubilated over the loss of the Bazooka man.

But it became clear after a meeting with the minister and his deputy O. B. Amoah in Accra on Friday that the boxer's quiet nature has been wrongly interpreted as arrogance.

Mr D. W. Torto, Ike's Public Relations Officer explained that as a result of the boxer's calm nature, members of his team normally do the talking on his behalf, thus cutting him off from his fans. Mr Osafo-Maafo told the media that it was important that the wrong perceptions were corrected and the boxer's positive side highlighted to encourage him to recapture his title.

The boxer has made huge investments in the sport, particularly in the promotional aspect since hanging his cloves five years ago, but little has been said about that.

The Minister assured Ike and other high-profile Ghanaian boxers of the Ministry's preparedness to help them "bring glory to Ghana." "I believe Ike can make it. And the Ministry would do all it can to help him recapture the title," the Minister said.

Ike won a unanimous decision over American Verno Jeremiahs Philips in a 10-round middleweight challenge contest on June 18. He is billed to fight the World Boxing Council (WBC) Number Two contender Kasim Omar of Uganda on November 8, in the US.