Laryea stops Namibian to win WBO Africa title

Ghana’s featherweight boxer, John Abaja Laryea has been crowned the new World Boxing Organization (WBO) Africa featherweight champion after he defeated Namibia’s Sebastianus Natanael in the fourth round.

The bout which was held at the Bukom Boxing Arena on Saturday saw Laryea clinch his first major title via a technical knockout. 

Popularly known as ‘Expensive’, Laryea, a huge underdog against the champion, came to the bout a record of eight wins without defeat with six knock outs. 

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His opponent, Sebastianus with 14 wins, two defeats with seven by knock outs was an overwhelming favourite but that did very little to deter the Ghanaian.

With a roaring crowd, Laryea started brightly with decent punches on his opponent in the first round.

But the Namibian champion came back strongly in the second round to cause havoc as he chased the Ghanaian with hefty left and right punches.

That tempo continued through the third round with both boxers exchanging fierce punches which in the process opened a gush on the face of the champion who bled profusely, forcing the referee to intervene on a few occasions.

The cut became Laryea’s target and regularly hit with ferocious punches, forcing the referee to stop the fight based on an advice from the ring doctor.

Speaking to the media after his resounding victory, Laryea was optimistic of winning a World title for Ghana.

‘I’m very determined and will go all out to win a world title for Ghana; I want to express my profound gratitude to God for this victory and also to Ghanaians for the love and support.

I appreciate the support and good works of my manager, coaches, and the entire Ghana Boxing Authority. It does not end here; winning the world title is the focus. I want Ghanaians to continue to throw their support behind me because without them, it cannot be achieved’, he said. 

Namibia’s Sebastianus expressed disappointment with the final verdict of the referee and wished the bout continued.

‘I very disappointed with the decision of the referee. It wasn’t a big cut for him to stop the fight. I could have carried on and finished all the rounds’ he added and called for a rematch. 

BY LINUS SIAW NARTEY 

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