Legendary Ghanaian boxer, Azumah Nelson, has revealed how former President Jerry John Rawlings convinced him to ditch his dream of joining the Ghana Armed Forces and pursue a career in boxing.
Ahead of his 60th Birthday which falls on the 19th of July, the 3-time world champion has been reliving some major highlights of his illustrious career that saw him record 47 fights to ink his name in the history of professional boxing.
But that feat would not have been possible had it not been the vision of ex-President Rawlings who saw in a young Azumah a hugely talented but unrefined boxer who with the right guidance and training would develop to become a boxing icon. The former President who is well-known for his unflinching support and contribution to the development of boxing in the country spotted the young Azumah at an amateur bout and quickly took interest in the unassuming Azumah. He funded Azumah’s activities and was at some point Azumah’s manager.
In a chat with GhanaWeb Sports Editor, Daniel Oduro, on the Sports Check program, Azumah narrated how he crossed paths with his ‘idol’ Rawlings and how the former President dissuaded him from joining the military.
Describing him as a father, the boxing hall of famer stated that Rawlings is a ‘God-sent’ who came into his life to direct him on the steps he had to take on his journey to greatness.
“I wanted to be a military man but Rawlings said no. When we were amateurs he took care of us. He said that what he saw in me he doesn’t want me to be a military man so he didn’t allow me to join the force. Because of that I always thank him and pray for him every day. God passed through him to give me the advice not to join the military because if I had joined the military, my last position would have been a sergeant. Rawlings likes me and I like him too”, Azumah said.
The boxing professor assumed global status when he dominated the super featherweight division as a champion for more than10 years.
He was subsequently inducted as the first African into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the year 2004. Azumah Nelson, a respected statesman in his native Ghana, also established the Azumah Nelson Foundation to help the young to realize their potential through education and sport.
Ahead of his 60th birthday later this month, Azumah Nelson will have another honour added to his countless accolades by the world’s premier boxing sanctioning body – The World Boxing Council (WBC).