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Ike Quartey was not as popular as Azumah Nelson, but he came up in the same tough streets that Nelson did. Quartey was also a great amateur from Ghana, just like Nelson and came up training in Nelson's gym.
Quartey turned pro the same year Azumah Nelson was winning the super-feather crown. The hard punching Quartey moved up slowly demonstrating power as well as that Bazooka jab. His career seemed to move very slowly as it took him until 1994 before he would get a crack at the WBA welterweight against Crisanto Espana. Quartey who was then fighting out of France stopped Espana in the 11th to capture the crown.
Quartey was considered in the top league of the welterweight division alongside great names such as Oscar Delahoya, Pernell Whitaker, and Felix Trinidad. Like Nelson, Quartey would hold his WBA crown for 3 years, until he relinquished his title in 1999 to face Oscar Delahoya. Many fans believed that Oscar had waited intentionally to face Quartey until he had began to show signs that his career was coming to an end. Up until Quartey, Oscar had only faced an aged Camacho, Chavez, and Pernell Whitaker (a fight that is greatly disputed over the outcome). Oscar had not listened to the fans who begged the champion to step up and face Trinidad, rematch Whitaker, or Quartey.
Quartey was having problems of his own. It seemed as if none of the major champions wanted to give Quartey the opportunity to fight. A fight with Trinidad and Whitaker both fell through and it seemed that Oscar was unwilling to make the fight as well until he had a draw against Jose Luis Lopez. A fight in which Quartey was knocked down twice. The fight was originally declared for Quartey, but later changed to a draw. His career seemed to be going down hill when Oscar came calling. The fight took place on February 13, 1999. Quartey fought the fight of his life despite being dropped in 6th and in the 12th (he dropped Oscar in the 6th as well). He seemed to have pulled off the upset, or at least in my eyes, but when it was all over Oscar was awarded the decision. The decision is still disputed on boxing forums across the web.
It would be over a year before Quartey would step back into the ring. On April 15, 2000 Quartey would make his final appearance as he stepped in with famed power puncher Fernando Vargas for the IBF Junior Middleweight title. Quartey made a game effort, even hurting Vargas in the later rounds, but Fernando won the decision under no controversy with made the exception of the margin of scoring on one card. Even though this was Quartey's last fight, it is my belief that along with Winky Wright, he showed the world that the Ferocious one could be hurt, and beaten.
In the end Quartey had earned a career record of 34-2-1 (29KOs) and 9-2-1 in championship fights. Besides growing up around Nelson, Quartey also had the distinction in as being awarded Amateur Boxer of the year by the Ghana Sportswriters, the honor also was awarded to Nelson in 1978.