Azumah Nelson Vs. Jesse James Leija V To Go Down In July!

By James Slater - 04/04/2024 - Comments

Relax, it’s only an exhibition. Yes, another one. Former champions Azumah Nelson and Jesse James Leija, who fought each other four times back in the 1990s, will meet again in an exhibition bout that Leija has announced as having been signed, the announcement appearing on his FaceBook page. The exhibition between Texan Leija and Accra’s Nelson will take place in San Antonio on July 8th.

Fans may recall the rivalry these two engaged in from September of 1993 to July of 1998. The four fights were all good action affairs, with three of the four fights contesting the WBC super featherweight title. The first fight took place on the under card of the hugely controversial Julio Cesar Chavez-Pernell Whitaker fight at The Alamodome. Like the main event, Nelson-Leija was scored a draw, but only after the decision had initially been announced as a split decision win for Nelson. Really, the judges did not have a good night that night, at all.

Nelson and Leija boxed a return fight in May the following year, with Leija scoring a unanimous decision win in Las Vegas. Fight-three saw Nelson stop Leija in round six, this with a TKO victory in Nevada. The fourth fight took place up at lightweight, and this time Leija won via unanimous decision, the site once again The Alamodome.

Now, at age 57, Leija will meet Nelson, aged 65, again – in exhibition form. Who knows what kind of a fight we will get here, and what the rules in place will be. These two former champions have nothing but respect for each other, however, and there will be no punches thrown with anything like bad intentions.

Both men look younger than their years, and both have kept themselves physically fit. Let’s wish both greats nothing but good luck with their July event.

Nelson, arguably the greatest fighter ever to have come out of Africa, never really seems to get the full respect he deserves. A truly magnificent fighter, “The Terrible Warrior” thrilled the world in epic fights with the likes of Salvador Sanchez (this being Nelson’s 14th pro fight), Wilfredo Gomez, Pat Cowdell (a truly stunning knockout), Jeff Fenech (another great rivalry), Leija, and Gabriel Ruelas.

Nelson walked away in 2008, with a fine 37-7-2(27) pro ledger. Leija retired (but not fully, as we now know), in 2005, while sporting a 47-7-2(19) pro record.

Both men are recognised as genuinely great guys of the sport.