Ghana’s "Bukom Banku" wins WPBF title
By Atty. Danrex Joseph V. Tapdasan
04 Aug 2010
Azumah Nelson’s student demolishes his Kenyan foe to retain the WBO Africa Super Featherweight title
Accra, Ghana - Ghana's Braimah Kamoko, popularly known as "Bukom Banku" on Sunday early won the World Professional Boxing Federation (WBPF) Light Heavyweight title with a tenth round knockout of Hector Velazco of Argentina at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra.
This writer witnessed the action first hand, being the third man on the ring in that fight.
Characteristically, the bout was not without drama, as Bukom Banku stormed the venue in a wheel chair, making his fans at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, very apprehensive.
But when he mounted the ring, the atmosphere became electrifying, and to the minds of the thousands of Ghanaian crowd, the fact that he would win the bout by a knockout was a foregone conclusion.
Kamoko who is known for his excessive showmanship, had a tough customer in the Argentine as he was matched equally in every aspect of the bouts by Velazco who is on record to have once won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Middleweight title.
The Ghanaian, despite the tough opposition from the Argentine however managed to dominate most of the rounds before he finally knocked his opponent out.
With his aggressive and an all attacking approach to the fight, Kamoko was all over his opponent as he combined punches on the ribs and the face of Velazco.
Velazco on the other hand, counted on a tactical approach of running around the ring while searching for a killer punch as well, but the hard hitting Kamoko was always on his guard to protect himself against any danger.
When the bell went for the commencement of hostilities, it was very evident that Velazco was not intimidated by the home crowd.
He bravely traded punches with Bukom Banku, keeping the Ghanaian’s supporters on tenterhooks.
The Ghanaian dominated rounds 2 to 4, wearing down his opponent: And when he unleashed a flurry of punches, the crowd went wild.
Bukom Banku’s overhead hooks dazed the Argentine in the last few seconds of round 5, but the man was saved by the bell.
As the bout progressed, Velazco showed signs of weariness, due to the continuous punches from the Ghanaian but he remained relentless in search of the punch that will send Kamoko to the canvas.
Kamoko sustained the pressure on Velazco in the sixth, seventh, eighth and in the ninth round he sent the Argentine to the canvas with a right and left hook but the Argentine survived the count. The bell sounded to save Velazco to end the round still standing. But I could sense that he was still dazed by the onslaught of the Ghanaian. So, during the rest period, I followed Velazco to his corner and asked him and his cornermen if the Argentine was in shape to continue. Patricio Retondaro, Velazco’s Chief Second told me that his boxer is still “OK”.
At the start of the 10th round, Kamoko subjected his foreign foe to further punishment, which compelled his Chief Second, to wave the towel and signal to me to stop the fight. Hence, I stepped in to stop the fight to the cheers of the partisan home fans.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Tagoe of Ghana made mincemeat of Samuel Kamau of Kenya in just 1:13 of the very first round. A wicked body shot by Tagoe sent Kamau crashing to the canvas and was not able to get up afer the full count. In the process, The Ghanaian called as the “Gameboy” retained the WBO Africa Super Featherweight title. Tagoe, trained by the legendary “Professor” Azumah “Zoom Zoom” Nelson.
Nelson is considered as a national treasure of Ghana. He was a three-time WBC world champion who fought great boxers including Salvador Sanchez, Wilfredo Gomez, Pernell Whitaker, Gabriel Ruelas, Genaro Hernande, Jesse James Leija and Jeff Fenech, among others.
This writer, representing Philboxing.com, had an exclusive interview with Nelson about his storied career and discovered unpublished interesting stories about him. More to come on this rare encounter.
In the other WPBF World Championship fights, two other Ghanaians, Albert Mensah and Joshua Okine, also won world titles on the night via unanimous decisions.
Okine beat the brave Muhammed Abdullaev of Uzbekistan while Mensah outclassed Karen Tevosyan of Russia to win the WPBF Welterweight and WPBF Super Lightweight belts respectively.
Supervising the WPBF title fights was Filipino Dante Almario, a former Muntinlupa City Councilor and a respected boxing personality in the Philippines.
On the WBO side, its 4th Vice President Andrew Smale of South Africa, a well respected and decorated boxing official from Africa, served as WBO Supervisor.
It will be remembered that Smale was the same person who visited the Philippines when Gerry “Fearless” Penalosa fought Mexican German Meraz last February 20, 2009 in Cebu City.
In a Philboxing article released on February 23, 2009, Philboxing.com had a conversation with Smale, who explained that he was amazed how successful the WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental titles have been.
Leon Panoncillo, Jr. heads the WBO Asia Pacific, Oriental and African Zone.
"I have been reading it from internet sites and sports media reports alike of how successful Mr. Panoncillo was. I believe I am learning from the best and it is an honor to be here at Cebu with the Vice President as I will getting a lot of knowledge from what I will learn from him, "explained Smale.
During the intervals of the fights, I had the great honor to meet and had short interactions with former Ghanaian world champions Joshua Clottey and Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko. Watch out for future articles when I reveal breaking news about these conversations.
(The writer is a lawyer by profession and a Professional Boxing Referee and Judge licensed by the Games and Amusements Board or GAB)
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