Ex President of Ghana Jerry John Rawlings, has expressed a desire to bring back ex-WBA welterweight champion Ike Bazooka Quartey to the sport of boxing.
President Rawlings does not necessarily want the "Bazookaman" to lace his gloves and mount the ring but to play a role in the development of the sport in the country.
The former President during an interview at his Ridge office in Accra said the former World champion's talent and exploits in the sport and worth transferring to the next generation.
"I remember one of his bouts against Oscar de La Hoya. In those last 3 rounds Ike could have beaten him. But I think Ike was feeling embarrassed for the champion. De la Hoya was a gentleman and a champion so Ike did not want to embarass him. That's how I see it"
Ex President further expressed his opinion on that big bout saying "Ike lost that moment and he squandered that fine opportunity But there again he hadn't lost everything. But he did when he had to let go. He is a disciplined mind and a disciplined spirit"
The former President is urging all to support the effort to bring Ike Quartey back into the sport to help the development of the sport. "Let's look for Ike and see if we can draw him back. He may not go back into the boxing ring. No I don't think so. But is there any way we can bring him back to help?"
"I probably have to look for him. These are people who brought a lot of pride to this country at one time or the other as Azumah Nelson did," he said.
The former President has been a big part of the sport and its growth in Ghana. He played a key role in the rise of Africa and Ghana's greatest boxer ever, Azumah Nelson. He was a trainer of the amateur boxing team at the Ghana Armed Forces during his years in the Ghana Military and was also a ring announcer during special fight organised for special competitions.
During his prime Ike 'Bazooka' Quartey was able to defend his WBA welterweight title seven times after snatching it from then champion Crisanto Espana in France on June 4, 1994.
After his loss to Oscar de La Hoya in 1999, Ike Quartey lost to then undefeated Fernando Vargas in an attempt to reclaim world title glory in 2000 in an IBF super welterweight bout.
Ike was to go on a four-year hiatus to concentrate on his businesses in real estate and boxing promotion. In January of 2005, he staged a much-publicized comeback in his homeland against American journeyman Clint McNeil. He was successful and recorded an eighth round knockout of his opponent. The former welterweight king went ahead to record wins against Verno Philips in Memphis Tennessee and Carlos Bojorquez in Las Vegas. These performances earned him the Comeback boxer of the year 2005 accolade by the prestigious Ring Magazine.
The next year, 2006, saw the end of the comeback journey. It started with a controversial loss to fellow former champion, Vernon Forrest (who was murdered at a petrol station in 2009). Also in 2008 he was honoured by the State by then President of Ghana J.A. Kufuor in the National Awards with a Grand Medal.
The 47-year-old boxer prematurely ended the comeback after a loss to his teenage boxing mate Ronald 'Winky' Wright in a big paying fight in Las Vegas.
Ike currently resides in his home in Accra and is focusing on his investments in real Estate and hospitality. He is also looking forward to completing a hospital project that has been under construction for some time now.
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