Prince Patel

It was one of two boxing events in one night on March 27, but for a first attempt, the Night of Championships put together by SOAQ Empire and Cahaya Lounge was a resounding success.

This comes at a time when many stakeholders are talking about reactivating regular promotions in Ghana following the restrictions necessitated by the covid-19 pandemic.

For a first attempt, the promoters did a wonderful job, from the venue choice through the fights lined up to the hitch-free flow of the fights. Obviously, because of the covid-19 situation and limitations on numbers at public events, the Cahaya Lounge proved an ideal spot.

The Attractions

In certain terms, parading two foreign boxers as the headliner may be a business risk but the two boxers gave good entertainment worthy of a main event. While this was for a niche crowd, held at the Cayaha Lounge situated opposite a former president’s residence, in Adjiringanor an upscale suburb of Accra, it had a good line up and got full participation from the fans who dined while enjoying the fights.

For the first time in a long while, the main attraction had five titles up for grabs. The WBO Global, WBO Africa, WBA Intercontinental, IBF Continental Africa and Commonwealth Super Flyweight championship between Prince Patel and Julius Kisarawe of Tanzania.

There were two other major bouts on the card – the WBA Pan African Heavyweight championship, and the WBA Africa Super Bantamweight championship.  In a female featherweight contest, Lucy Wildheart recorded a split decision win over Flora Machela of Tanzania. The scorecards read 77-78, 80-74 and 80-72 to give her the seventh win of her three-year-old career.  

Added to this was the fact that the bouts were being staged at the venue, an upscale reveling joint, normally known for live music nights and other entertainment genres events. One hardly knew what to expect especially because it was a first try.

At Ringside

The boxing ringside is normally a melting pot for achieved persons in various aspects of human endeavor and Saturday’s night was no different. Africa’s greatest boxer, and international boxing Hall of Fame Inductee, Azumah Nelson, millionaire entrepreneur Osei Kwame Despite, who is founder of the Despite Group and Despite Media, Mr Victor Asante, the MD of FBN Bank, multiple award-winning artistes Samini, Prodigal of VIP fame, former Black Stars World Cup goalkeeper, Adam Larsen Kwarasey and the executive team from beverage manufacturers, Aphro who were a major sponsor.

Interestingly Samini happens to be one of the people who suggested the idea of a fight night at the venue. “One evening while hanging out here we brought up the idea. I am glad that this idea graduated from our table to reality.

Congrats to the team and I look forward to more of such so we can add our energy to the existing efforts to promote the sport of boxing,” Samini said when he was invited into the ring to give a message of goodwill.

How the action wrapped up

Prince Patel put up a sweet display of fine punching, ring movement and sustained pressure to stop Julius Kisarawe. Patel seemed to be in control until the latter part of the third round when a visibly wobbly Kisarawe shook off his inertia and took the fight to the former. The Tanzanian had his guard up and did his best to contain the many punches coming from the Brit, but Patel remained focused and punched from all directions.

The trend continued till the ninth round when Kisarawe dropped on the canvas twice. Referee May Mensah Akakpo had to step in to stop the Tanzanian contender from further punishment. In a previous meeting in 2018 in Budapest Hungary, Patel stopped Kisarawe in round six. The British boxer walked out of the ring with five titles – the WBO Global, WBO Africa, WBA Intercontinental, IBF Continental Africa and Commonwealth Super Flyweight.

Ring Announcer Nathaniel Attoh declares Prince Patel the winner

In an entertaining bout Ebenezer Tetteh, of the Sonia Gym in Accra annexed the WBA Pan African Heavyweight title after Osumanu Haruna failed to answer the bell for the seventh round. There seemed to be some confusion between Haruna and his corner on whether or not to honour the seventh round. At that point, Haruna had already been deducted points for punching below the belt. By that win, Tetteh improved his record to 20 wins and one loss.  Isaac Sackey retained his WBO Africa Super Bantamweight title after a unanimous win over Gabriel Odoi Laryea. The scorecards of judges May Akpakpo, Roger Barnor and Adon Betin all read 120-108. There were 10 other bouts on the bill.

 Prospects

The potential for the growth Night of Championship brand owned by Cahaya and SOAQ Empire Promotions is vast. Considering that the venue cannot admit the thousands that traditional ones like the Bukom Arena and the Accra Stadium, the virtual audience/live television space can be explored. 

Once the team keeps this as a regular feature on the boxing calendar, it will add not only to the number but the quality of bouts produced from here. That should hopefully be a win-win situation for all involved.