Former Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, has condemned the practice of presenting ill-prepared and half-baked boxers for international bouts by managers and promoters, saying that the practice would damage the integrity of the sport.
According to the Odododiodoo Member of Parliament (MP), the practice remains a major setback to boxing, a sport that has earned Ghana plaudits on the international scene.
Addressing guests at a Ghana Boxing Authority’s (GBA) launch of a car, website and new title belts last week, Mr. Vanderpuye said it was time stakeholders put the success of boxing and well-being of boxers in front of their financial gains.
He said the action has never tended to favour boxers- whose welfare and career success must be the foremost priority of promoters and managers- but rather hurt their careers and confidence in their craft.
He said managers and promoters who were on this tandem were self-seeking and must be shunned if Ghana was serious about raising the next generation of credible world champions.
“Over the years, we have not realised the dream of raising world champions because some people are exploiting the sport just to enrich themselves at the expense of its development.
“We don’t care about the future of the sport; we only care about what we can make from the sport at the moment but that’s not the way to go.
He continued: “If that’s the way to go you wouldn’t put a boxer into a fight knowing that the weight he is going to fight is not his weight; you are risking the life of the boxer and you are denying the sport of it’s potential.”
Mr Vanderpuye said in recent years, stakeholders had not given boxing the self-discipline and professionalism it deserved and this has set the sport backwards.
“When I talk about discipline, it’s not just about the technical discipline or about the tactical discipline but about the personal discipline that is supposed to come from each of the stakeholders in the sport.
“If managers, promoters and administrators are doing their part, the boxers would also do their part. Then we shall have the comprehensive discipline needed to push us where we want to be.”
The former ring announcer and sports journalist added that the actions of stakeholders must always be geared towards giving boxing a promising future rather than the get-rich-quick syndrome that was currently pervading the sport, hindering its true potential.
Speaking on the titles, Mr. Vanderpuye said it opened new doors to the emergence of new champions and also presented an opportunity to create a buzz around the sport.
Mr. Vanderpuye also charged the GBA to extend help and to reward boxing heroes, who won titles or dedicated their service to boxing in the country.
BY ANDREW NORTEY & NANA BENTSI ODURO