Former World Boxing Authority (WBA) welterweight champion, Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey, has called on the government to invest in amateur boxing to develop it to the level of producing more world champions for the nation.
Quartey maintained that Ghana could become the hub of champions if the focus will be on developing the sport from the juvenile level.
The country continues to struggle for titles at the world stage despite recent efforts from Isaac Dogbe and Richard Commey in the last decade.
In an interview with the Times Sports, Quartey urged the government to financially support amateur boxing to win more laurels for the nation.
This, he said, would help unearth and nurture upcoming boxers who will turn professionals and go on to win major titles for Ghana.
“We need to begin from the juvenile level. If we nurture and train boxers at the amateur level, the next Azumah Nelson, D.K. Poison, Nana Yaw Konadu and myself will emerge. The support from government is very little for now.”
“We have the likes of Ambassador Ray Quarcoo, Mr Amarkai Amarteifio, Ataa Eddie Pappoe and others who are ready to revive amateur boxing when they are called upon. They groomed amateur boxers who turned professionals and went on to become world champions. This is a clear testimony that we have the personnel but what is missing is the financial assistance”, he stressed.
In his view, it was important that the sport was extended to all the regions.
“That should be supervised by the national federation in charge of the sport but without the assistance from the state; they will find it difficult to provide the logistics needed to develop the sport there.”
He advised the government to build boxing gyms in all regions and equip them with training materials like how football pitches have been provided in all regions”, he said.
Using his career as an example, Quartey revealed how amateur boxing helped him to become a world champion in 1994 and went on to represent Ghana in the 1988 Olympic Games in South Korea.
BY LINUS SIAW NARTEY