Boxing News Fri, 24 May 2002

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Laatekwei Hammond to fight Okine in mandatory defence

The hide and seek tactics which has become the trade mark of some Ghanaian national boxing champions would soon be halted as the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) has ordered mandatory defences in certain weight categories with June ending as the deadline.

Mr Justus Agbeko, General Secretary of the GBA said the decision is to fill vacant positions in some divisions and to present long serving champions with worthy challengers to test their championship status. Significantly, the match up in the super lightweight division between titleholder Laatekwei Hammond and prime contender, Stephen Okine is a banker that would ferry boxing fans to the arena.

Minutes after the game Okine had pummelled Sergeant Moro Tijani of the Ghana Armed Forces over 12 rounds in a non-title fight early in the month, he threw an open challenge to Hammond to stake his title against him and promised the crowd that he would whip him to annex the belt. The mandatory defence would therefore determine who is who in the division.

In the welterweight class, champion Joshua Okine has been billed to fight Ago Ashong in a compulsory defence. Joshua who has persistently thrown public challenges to his namesake and African Boxing Union (ABU) champion, Joshua Clottey for the latter's title would use his fight against Ashong as a warm up for the big one.

Okine told the GNA Sports that he preferred a contest with Clottey for the African belt to the defence of his national title, adding that though his main aim is to go forward, he would not run away from any fight while Clottey remains evasive. Joshua Okine and Laatekwei Hammond won their titles on 27 July 2001 and have not defended them since then. Joseph Sarkodie and Ben Ankrah are to meet in a final eliminator with the winner challenging Ben Neequaye for the latter's national lightweight title.

The vacant national flyweight title would be at stake when Osumanu Terry meets Anyomi Savundra in a match of the 'small men,' while Badu Sumaila who snatched the title from Asamoah Wilson has been given up to December to defend the title against either the former champion who is rated first, or Galley Cudjoe, the number two contender.

Source: GNA

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