Australia based boxing matchmaker and promoter, Michael John Altamura has called on Ghana president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to as a matter of urgency shift the bulk of government support for sports into boxing, which he describes as not only the country’s most successful sport, but also it’s most successful industry and offered has his availability to help push Ghana boxing to the very top echelons globally.
Altamura who works with the team of Ghana’s recently crowned WBO junior featherweight world champ, Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe and was at ringside in Philadelphia, USA when the Ghanaian annexed the world championship back on April 28, believes the president can immediately revive the country’s sunken sports image by turning to boxing in the wake of bad publicity generated by the nation’s most patronised sport, football following scandalous revelations in the #Number 12 documentary of renowned investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas which publicly premiered in Accra on Wednesday.
“With the credibility of soccer shattered in Ghana, time the government started legitimately supporting the one sport that has always shun the light gracefully on the nation, producing 8 world champions. Ready to talk whenever you are, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” Altamura posted on social media early Thursday.
“Boxing has seen little government support inspite of the fact that it is the only profession in Ghana able to produce eight world champions. I don’t think there is another profession in Ghana, there are many talented Ghanaians around the world, many highly educated Ghanaians over spread of industries but there is not one other industry that could claim to produce so many elite operators and keep in mind this is inspite of primitive conditions,” Altamura explained further to this writer.
“In regards to the professional game, of all African nations probably with the exception of South Africa at present or possibly South Africa included, Ghana has the most fighters rated currently in the world top 15 and of course possess the current WBO world junior featherweight world champion, Isaac Royal Storm Dogboe,” he emphasised.
Also the International Consultant of Dubai, UAE headquartered boxing management outfit, MTK Global, Altamura bemoans the apparent little or no government support for the fistic sport in this country despite its plethora of talent pool and achievements spread across generations.
“I’ve said for a long time that Ghana breeds natural warriors. The lifestyle, especially in Bukom breeds athletes that have the mental toughness, the drive and the hunger to become championship fighters but what is needed with young talents is the platform to develop them,” Altamura said.
“How many gyms do you go to in Ghana that have fully fledged Olympic sized rings? Yet you have athletes that you try to produce to make it to the national team, then athletes get to the national team and often times there is inability to send them abroad for international exposure. There needs to be funding in the amateur system to have inter-club battles, to have basic fundamentals, proper equipment, punching bags, gloves, rings,” he advised.
The man who was in Ghana only last month on the latest leg of his recent regular visits to the country, during which he commissioned the beginning of construction of an ultra modern MTK Global gym in Accra which will open in October, has no doubt whatsoever that Ghana will be a major player in global boxing with more investment and has declared himself available to work with Ghanaian officials to pursue the dream.
“I think the people in the game understand the struggle involved in bringing elite events to Ghana. When you’re working in third world conditions which means you have TV paying very little, you are fully relied on government support and sponsorship. It’s extremely difficult to charge the Las Vegas or UK prices to the citizens of Ghana so there’s not much actually to be made through ticketing on an event, then support is solely based on sponsorship and that is why in developing countries, governmental infusion is required to advance the discipline,” ‘Kwame’ Altamura pointed out.
“Further to what I have said, I love Ghana, I think it’s a beautiful country, it’s brought so many amazing people into my life and created so many opportunities and I would love to see the athletes and personnel in the country continue to excel,” he continued.
“And it doesn’t only come with the full support of the government, there’s people like Mr. Peter Zwennes of the Ghana Boxing Authority who do everything in their power to lift the profile and name of the sport. But we need more assistance alongside him too and it will be an honour to come there any time, I’m happy to fly myself in to meet any representatives of Ghana and start working on the direction forward,” Altamura assured.