Last month when in South Africa for the Confederations Cup the head of Geodrill asked me to fly to Ghana to interview boxing great Azumah Nelson for a DVD that he is producing to accompany a book that is aimed at helping the young in Ghana. It was an offer that I could not refuse.
“The Professor” as he is know is best remembered by Australians for his two fights with Jeff Fenech, the first ending in a much disputed draw, the other a knockout win to Azumah Nelson in Melbourne.
Azumah was the WBC Featherweight Champion from 1984 -1988 when he chose to vacate the title. He then moved up to Super featherweight where he won the WBC title on 29 February 1988 and held it until Jesse James Leija beat him on the 7th of May 1994. He won back his title on 1 December 1995 and lost it for the last time on 22 March 1997 to Genaro Hernandez.
Nelson suffered tragedy in his career losing his first wife to cancer days before he fought Pernell Whittaker in 1990. When asked why he did not pull out of the fight he simply told me “ I was not injured, and people had made money to see me fight.” He did however concede that mentally it was the worst fight of his career.
He is regarded by many as the greatest boxer to come out of Africa, and was the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Azumah is a deeply religious man, and he is now trying to give back to the people of Ghana. He has set up the Azumah Nelson Foundation to try and raise money for a sports academy that will deliver Ghana their first ever Olympic gold medal. He was denied that opportunity in 1980 due to a boycott.
Visit his site: http://www.azumahnelsonfoundation.org
Tune in to Not the Footy Show on Wednesday, 05 August on 990Am from 6pm (WST) onwards to listen to Ashley’s interview with Azumah Nelson.