In far away South Africa, a tragic incident occurred that should be a wake-up call for many lovers of boxing in Ghana, especially the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA).
On September 12, 2015, Eastern Cape junior welterweight Mzwanele Nkompolo died after he was knocked out in the first round by Sophenathi Qambi.
Whether he went through the mandatory medical examination required for such fights to take place or not cannot be readily known —
what is known is that he entered the ring a seemingly fit man.
To the casual reader or observer this was just another tragic event that happens in boxing – they may even call it occupational hazard, so to speak.
But to the connoisseurs, this news should be a warning signal to national boxing controlling bodies like the GBA that take things for granted.It should wake up them up from the inertia or indifference that makes them overlook cardinal issues in a boxer’s preparations for a fight.
Otherwise they could be saddled with a similar tragedy,especially when someone within their ranks, albeit a medical doctor, has already cried foul.
Last month, the head of the GBA Medical Committee, Dr. Samuel Armah Quaye threatened to quit over what he described as repeated interference in his work by the top hierarchy of the authority.
According to him, “normally I always insist to have blood samples of boxers taken by myself ahead of fights, but these boxers would you they had done their own tests already. Believe me when I insist, my own GBA people will press on me to let it go, and I think its not proper”.
Dr Quaye said “it happened in the Bukom Banku-Ayitey Powers fight and its still going on, citing the Powers- Sabbah fight that ended in a fourth knockout of Sabbah.
What is more worrying is some boxers who get disqualified on medical grounds are allowed to fight as in the case of Sabbah, while others like John Napari who was to have fought banku get disqualified.
These developments in professional boxing virtually indicts the GBA as not living up to its core function of development and control as set up in the L.I. 1088 of the 1976 (SMCD.54).
Looking back over the years of the immediate past regimes of the GBA, I used to consider the leadership of Mr Foh-Amoaning as the worst.
I revised that view when the mantle fell on Samir Captan, the successor to Foh-Amoaning – it turned out that Captan’s was nowhere near his predecessor.
So it was a great relief when Captan’s term ended, after his regime had even overstayed.
Then came Peter Zwennes, who most thought was bringing in a new lease of life with his legal brains just as Allotei Cofie did in the 1980s.
Rather the sport has been gripped by an inertia that borders on indifference for no apparent reason.
Under Allotei Cofie and Nii Quaye Mensah, a lawyer and an accountant respectively, the GBA had no government support yet these men were able to rope in sponsorship not only to enhance Ghana’s world title efforts in the 80s and 90s, but also the publication of rules/regulations and strategic business plan among others to guide and enrich the sport.
So far, the only thing the current GBA can boast of as having achieved is sanctioning of the Bukom Banku-Ayitey Powers fight which is even now a fleeting dream – gone with the wind.
It is in appreciation of this mediocre achievement and the Doctor’s complaint that one has to be mindful of the downward trend that the lawyer is leading the GBA.
The doctor has raised the red flag that GBA is overlooking what has to be done right.
The point is,we must not wait for a tragedy to occur as a result of the GBA’s omission or commission.
The Zwennes-led GBA has been able to get away with only a fourth round knockout for a boxer who has been disqualified on medical grounds in the person of Sabbah.
Next time, it could be the case of the unfortunate South African boxer.
Should we wait it for an indifferent GBA to supervise the occurrence of such a tragedy?
TO THE POINT