Ghana’s Duke Micah put up another impressive display to stop Nigerian challenger, Yaqub Kareem to defend his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa bantamweight title over the weekend at the DG Hathiramani Sports Hall at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Kareem survived many scary moments including three knockdowns in the third and eighth rounds before throwing the towel at the start of the ninth round when the fans clamoured for his ‘retirement’.
It was, indeed, a huge ‘Return of the Duke’ as the night was christened, as he thrilled the fans with his enterprising ring movement, putting the much older Nigerian challenger under continuous pressure for the entire duration.
Despite Kareem’s superior reach advantage, it was Micah who dominated the exchanges using effective jabs to keep his adversary at bay.
Having clearly lost the first round, Kareem attempted to fight back in the second but again met a stubborn Micah who stunned him on two occasions with deadly left shots which nearly sent him crashing on the canvas.
The Nigerian finally landed on the canvass for the first time in the third round from a straight right shot to his chest but managed to beat referee Roger Barnor’s mandatory count despite looking dazed.
The punishment continued in the subsequent rounds with Micah becoming more dangerous with his left and right overhead shots.
In the eighth, a right shot to Kareem’s mid-section fell him but he returned after the count to fight again, only to walk into a left punch which fell him again but got saved by the bell.
And just when Micah stood up for the ninth looking more invigorated, Kareem’s corner did the expected, throwing the towel to save a boxer who had failed to win a single round out of the eight and was still being dominated.
But the night belonged to Ben Ankrah and Isaac Aryee whose 12 rounds of boxing explosion kept the fans cheering all evening in a national welterweight championship that saw the champion, Aryee, known as the ‘Punisher’ winning by a unanimous decision.
The referees scored it 118-112, 118-110 and 115-114 for the Punisher who was the first to concede he has been tested by a hardworking and experienced boxer.
Many of the fans and Aryee had given Ankrah, known as ‘Congo Soldier’ a little chance of surviving the entire rounds but his warrior attributes were in full glare of the fans as he stood toe-to-toe with the heavier Aryee to trade fierce punches to head and body.
Congo Soldier’s performance reminded a lot of the fans of his glorious days as he connected a number of hefty punches but that only exposed the strong chin of the Punisher whose all attacking style endeared him to the fans.
The rivalry and tension had the better of the Congo Soldier and Punisher in the latter rounds as the fight degenerated into nasty confrontations but referee Erasmus Owoo stamped his authority to ensure it ended well.
The final round saw both boxers slugging it hard with the Punisher in the driving seat, connecting more to the head and body of the Congo Soldier who in the end accepted a rematch from a member of the organising team.
The promotion put together by Streetwise Management Promotions witnessed three other undercards that saw Isaac ‘Zongo Fire’ Dowuona obtaining a third round technical stoppage of Emmanuel Laryea in a lightweight contest; Felix Ajom recording a second round technical stoppage over Enock Lamptey in a super featherweight contest.
The super lightweight contest between Raphael Kwabena King and Abraham Afful (Ebo Electric) ended prematurely following a head butt some few seconds into the first round, rendering Afful incapable to continue. It was adjudged a technical draw.
Kpakpo Allotey earned a unanimous decision win over Abdul Aziz Quartey in a boring super lightweight eliminator that made the referee the busiest among the three in the ring.
Allotey had it 99-93, 96-95 and 98-91 in his favour to record a second win over Quartey.
By Andrew Nortey