Eslih Owusu (4-0, 2 KOs) is on the rise, and the rasta-haired boxer of Ghanaian descent underlined his credentials with a round 2 stoppage victory over Mexican slugger, Marco Antonio Salinas in front of his own people in Tijuana last weekend to make it four straight wins at the beginning of a still burgeoning pro career, impressing none other than his own trainer.
Born in the US to parents who both hail from Ghana, 21 year old Eslih Kofi Owusu Anokye has been trained since age 14 by world title winning coach, Daniel Okoe Odamtten who led his protégé to stand up to the herculean battle Salinas presented Sunday night in the heart of Mexico.
As the partisan hometown crowd cheered on the 31 year old Salinas who was coming off losing all of his last three fights and desperately needed the win to appease them, southpaw Owusu never backed off and strongly battled back in what was a true slugfest in the opening round of their middleweight clash scheduled for 6.
As it turned out, the Mexican failed to maintain the intensity with which he started the fight. Owusu’s hefty counter punches had taken its toll and Salinas had no choice than to retire just inside two rounds, handing the win to Owusu much to the delight of his vastly experienced trainer.
“The fight was really tough as we expected, it was a very important test in all aspects. Firstly fighting away from home, secondly not knowing who you are fighting and lastly the crowd supporting your opponent. It is a scary situation for a young fighter like Eslih Owusu,” Coach Odamtten told this writer on arrival in the US from Mexico.
“That is why we are very happy for not just the win but the confidence with which Eslih faced and outpunched him. He showed that he has really been listening and learning from what we teach him in training,” added Coach Odamtten who famously trained the legendary Ike ‘Bazooka’ Quartey to win the WBA welterweight title in 1994.
It was a second fight in six months for Owusu, having made the trip down to Ghana back at the end of last year, during when he defeated compatriot Benjamin ‘Congo Soldier’ Ankrah via a round 3 TKO at the Seconds-Out Gym in Accra on December 17 after two previous wins, both 4-round unanimous decisions against Bryan Abraham at welterweight on debut and Leonardo Ladeira, both in Worchester, Massachusetts in August 2018 and September 2019 respectively.
It means Owusu has only fought once every year since turning pro nearly three years ago but his trainer believes conditions are right for him to fight more often moving forward as they aim to break into the world ratings and start challenging for titles.
“He is in good shape so we are ready to fight again soon. (Owusu’s manager) Jacob Zwennes is the one who make things happen but I am sure he will probably be back again in June,” Coach Okoe Odamtten said.
Meanwhile Owusu whose main aim for coming to Ghana back in December was to announce himself to his countrymen and garner their spiritual support, confesses to the good reception he received and is keen to return for another fight.
“I want my fans in Ghana to know that I miss them a lot and I can’t wait to be back by the end of this year or early next year to fight in front of the big crowd. All I ask is that they keep praying for me and surely I will make them proud in the ring,” Eslih Owusu said.
“In Okoe Odamtten, I have a coach who has seen it all, from the grassroots of Bukom to the top of world boxing and I also believe in myself to make it to the top,” pledged Owusu who named his idols as Pernell Whitaker, Lennox Lewis and the aforementioned Ike Bazooka Quartey.