SPORTS PROFILE OF THE WEEK: “I’m the Champion…. and I’m Too Bad Baby” - Azumah
Azumah Nelson (born 19 July 1958), a native of Ghana, is a former professional boxer. He is widely considered as the greatest African boxer ever. He is a three-time world champion in two weight classes.
Nelson is the former two-time WBC super featherweight Champion, and the former WBC featherweight champion.
Nelson had a stellar amateur career, competing at the 1978 Commonwealth Games where he won a gold medal in the Featherweight class, and compiling an Amateur Record of 50-2.
Nelson's professional boxing debut, in 1979, did not generate much attention, except in Ghana, where he was known because of his family ties. Internationally, Nelson lacked the recognition for such an event to be given its due importance. With the years, however, all of that changed because he garnered worldwide fame as a boxer.
He beat Billy Kwame in Accra by a decision in eight to mark his professional debut. In his third fight, he fought on 3 March 1980, he knocked out Henry Sadler in the ninth round to win Ghana's regional 126-pound title. On 13 December of that year, he knocked out Joe Skipper in round 10 to add the African continent's belt to his Ghanaian regional championship.
In 1981, Nelson beat Bozzou Aziza in Togo; it was Nelson's first fight abroad. He then beat Miguel Ruiz in his first United States fight, held in California. He added the Commonwealth of Nations' Featherweight title with a fifth-round knockout of Brian Roberts.
Despite all his early achievements and being undefeated in 13 fights, Nelson was virtually unknown outside Ghana. Because of this, he was a decisive underdog when he challenged WBC featherweight champion Salvador Sánchez on 21 July 1982 at the Madison Square Garden in York. Despite losing that fight by a knockout in round 15, Nelson's stock as a boxer rose after that fight, and he established himself as a deserving leading contender in the eyes of many fans. Further, Nelson was put at a significant disadvantage when his custom mouthpiece was stolen and he had to make do with a makeshift one purchased from a store and cut to his mouth with a knife, leaving him in pain for the whole fight. The Sánchez-Nelson fight would be Salvador Sánchez's last fight, as he died almost two months later after suffering a car accident in Mexico City.
In his next fight, Nelson knocked out fringe contender Irving Mitchell in eight rounds.