Legendary Ghanaian boxer Azumah Nelson usually has his name preceded with either Barima or Professor.
Azumah’s exploits as an accomplished boxer are perhaps the reasons why he was given those two accolades but the interesting story of how a Ghanaian chief and an Australian boxing pundit conferred the “Barima” and “Professor” titles on the great fighter remains a mystery to many.
Ahead of his 60th Birthday which falls on the 19th of July, Azumah has been speaking to GhanaWeb’s sports editor Daniel Oduro about his journey from a poor boy in Mamprobi to Africa’s first and only boxing Hall of Famer.
The chief of Aburi who was captivated by the exploits of Azumah Nelson honoured him with the chieftaincy title “barima” to celebrate his remarkable achievements as a boxer.
On March 1, 1992 at Princes Park Football Ground in Melbourne, WBC super featherweight champion Azumah Nelson took on the then undefeated Australian boxer Jeff Fenec and won the bout via a Technical Knock Out.
An Australian boxing expert who was overly impressed by Azumah’s boxing skills bestowed on him the title ‘Professor’.
“The late Aburi chief he gave me the Barima title. It’s a chieftaincy title like nkosuohene”. For the professor when I knocked out Jeff Fenec in our second fight then they gave me the title. One Australian boxing analyst called Dr Pacheko gave me the name professor, Azumah said.
Azumah hanged his gloves with an impressive record of 39-5-2 (28 KOs) and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004 becoming the first and only African to have chalked that feat.
Ahead of his 60th birthday later this month, Azumah Nelson will have another honour added to his countless accolades by the world’s premier boxing sanctioning body - The World Boxing Council.