Ashie outpoints Mokoena to win WBO Africa lightweight title

Mr. Samir Captan decorates Ashie while Mokoena looks on

Mr. Samir Captan decorates Ashie while Mokoena looks on

Ghana’s George Ashie survived South Africa’s Michael Mokoena onslaught for 12 rounds to become the new World Boxing Organization (WBO) Africa lightweight champion after winning a Majority Decision in the closely fought contest at the Bukom Boxing Arena on Friday.

Despite winning on the scorecards of two judges; 117-105, 117-113 and drew 116-116 on the third, Ashie, known as the ‘Red Tiger’ did not exhibit any trait of a roaring tiger.

Rather, the charged crowd rooting for the Ghanaian sat on tenterhooks for a large period of the fight except the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds where Ashie won convincingly.

From an unconvincing display in the first two rounds where Ashie struggled to chase the ‘dancing’ Mokoena who use his reach to stay out of trouble, both boxers plunged into full gear with fierce exchanges in the third to bring the arena alive.

The fourth was exciting as the ‘Red Tiger’ finally caught Mokoena with a left uppercut that opened him up for a right follow-up.

That left the South African dazed but Ashie lacked the killer instinct to finish him off.

With the danger still lurking, Ashie continued with the pummeling in the subsequent rounds where he occasionally directed his shots at Mokoena’s body; a strategy that worked for the Ghanaian but Mokoena’s ability to box out of trouble was always Ashie’s undoing.

Ashie had a gush in the fifth round around the right eye but managed to fight through with his corner doing a good work to control the blood flow.

That notwithstanding, the Ghanaian fought hard but his best was not enough to stop the determined South African who jabbed well and amassed points in the early rounds where he caught the Ghanaian several times but was not enough to win him the fight according to the judges.

Attoh Quarshie gym’s Isaac Sackey also became the WBO Africa super bantamweight champion following a dominant display that earned him a Unanimous Decision victory over a former holder of the title, Raymond Commey.

Sackey troubled Commey from the very start with his swift movement and hand speed.

Known as the ‘Tsorkor Banku,’ Commey struggled to contain the southpaw Sackey who combined effectively and opened up Commey to fire fierce punches through.

Commey trainer, Jones Neequaye expressed a few concerns after the fight in a chat with the Times Sports but he admitted it was a disappointing night for his ward.

The event put together by Box Office Sports Promotions and Planning Committee of Ghana 61 Years On, also witnessed a massive return for Obodai Sai who stopped Richard Ashong with a heavy right punch just 2.54secs in the first round.

The biggest disappointment was Ayittey Powers ‘no show’, having failed to make the required weight for his cruiserweight contest against Enoch ‘Bruno’ Quaye who recorded a fifth round Technical Knockout (TKO) Powers replacement, Folivi Mawuli.

BY ANDREW NORTEY

 

 

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