Bio | Nelson Azumah

Nelson Azumah

Nelson Azumah

Name                        Azumah

Other Names               Nelson

Date of Birth               1958-09-19

Place                         Accra

 

Detailed Biography

Pro Record: 39-5-2 (28 kayos)

Azumah "The Professor" Nelson was born on September 19, 1958 (some say July, others claim earlier) in the newly independent Ghana. A country that was under the strain of political uprisings.

Azumah grew up in the harsh enviroment of the Bokum province of Ghana. Fighting was a hobby it was a way of life for the children of the region. In Bokum kids are allowed to fight on the streets as long as they were the same age and used no weapons. Outsiders knew about the kids from Bokum, and even if you were a talented fighter, you did not mess with the kids from Bokum even if you were older. They could fight. Like his father, Azumah wanted to box, and he truly believed he could beat anyone. He tried on several occasions in the streets, but was led into the gym to face the best boxer at the time. The boy beat him silly, but that did not matter, Azumah kept coming back and eventually was able to take on the man with success. That is when he began to train as a boxer.

After going 50-1 as an amateur and a Commonwealth championship as a featherweight - Nelson picked up gold in the featherweight division at the Edmonton games in 1978. After this success he turned professional and within 10 fights he was the holder of the Ghanaian, African and Commonwealth belts. He went 13-0 to start his pro-career. In his 14th fight as a pro he showed the stuff that spawn legends as he stepped up against the legendary WBC featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez. In rough and rugged fight, Nelson fought valiantly against Sanchez going toe to toe with the champion, but was stopped in the 15th round. It turned out that was the great champions last fight as Sanchez was killed in an automobile accident 22 days later. He was 23 years old and had earned a career record of 44-1-1 with 32 KOs. With Sanchez's death, the boxing world was in shock. The WBC title was won by Juan La Porte on September 15, 1982 and made two successful defenses before losing the title to Wilfredo Gomez on March 31, 1984. This set up Nelson's second chance at the WBC crown.

Since his historic fight with Sanchez, Nelson went right back to his winning ways by winning six straight fights before facing Gomez. Nelson did not fail in his second attempt as he hammered Gomez eventually stopping him in the 11th round. Nelson would rule the featherweight division for the next three years, until he relinquished his crown to move up to super-featherweight.

Nelson would go on to win the WBC super-feather title in February 1988 when he won a disputed decision over Mario Martinez. He then defended 3 times, including a rematch with Martinez whom he stopped in the 12th. In 1990, he made an attempt to move up to lightweight, but was easily out pointed by Pernell Whitaker. Since his super-feather belt were not at stake he moved back down and went on to face such competition as Jeff Fenech (twice), Gabriel Ruelas, and a draw to Jesse James Leija.

It looked as if time had finally caught up with Nelson as he lost a rematch with Leija in his next fight. Leija lost the crown in his next fight as well to Gabriel Ruelas. Ruelas looked like the new dominant figure in the division, but tragedy struck when Ruelas defeated Jimmy Garcia and Garcia died of head injuries a few days after the fight. A distraught Ruelas entered the ring after taking a lay off against Nelson, who was then considered a safe opponent. The safe opponent stopped Ruelas in the fifth. It seemed Nelson wasn't as washed up as thought as he stopped Leija in the 6th. Nelson would lose his next two fights to Genaro Hernandez and a fourth meeting with Leija. Nelson would then call it quits and would return to Ghana

While Nelson was winding up a spectacular career, ending with a record of 39-5-2 (28 KOs) and a championship record of 18-4-2, another young man from the Bokum province was about to take his step as well. Ike Quartey was not as popular as Azumah, 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.

Summary

Azumah is known in boxing circles as 'The Professor' because of his ability to teach his opponents a boxing lesson,

His craft and power still see him widely regarded as the greatest fighter to ever emerge from the African continent. Nelson, who has been called the greatest African boxer of all time, quit the sport at the age of 40 with a record of 39 wins, five losses and two draws. Nelson won a swag of titles over his superb 20-year professional career, including British Commonwealth and African featherweight titles, and WBC featherweight and super-featherweight crowns.

More than half of his fights were world title contests and he had a draw and victory in bouts against another triple world champion, Australian Jeff Fenech.

Nelson has retired and vowed not to make a comeback.

"I am not the type of man who says one thing today and turns back on it tomorrow," he said.

Nelson has also been told he can expect to become the first African inducted into the international boxing Hall of Fame.

During his 19-year professional career, he stopped 28 of his opponents within the distance, recording a total 38 wins, four losses and two draws. Among opponents he beat were Mexican Marcos Villasana, Mario "Azabache" Martinez, Australian Jeff Fenech,and Briton Jim McDonnell. His four defeats were at the hands of Pernell Whitaker, Jesse James Leija (twice) and Genardo Hernandez.

 

His Record

 1979 1 Dec  Billy Kwame           Ghana           W8 

1980

 2 Feb  Nii Nuer                   Ghana                 KO3

 3 Mar  Henry Sadler            Ghana                 KO9

 (Won GHANA 126 lb. Title)

 17 Apr  Henry Optoki            Ghana               KO8

 4 Jul  David Capo              Ghana                 W10

 13 Dec  Joe Skipper             Ghana               TKO10

 (Won African 126 lb. Title) 

 

1981

 24 Feb  Bossou Aziza            Togo            W10

 2 May  Don George              Ghana           KO5

 18 Aug  Miguel Ruiz             California      TKO3

 26 Sep  Brian Roberts           Ghana           TKO5

 (Won Vacant British Comm. 126 lb. Title)

 4 Dec  Kabiru Akindele         Ivory Coast     KO6

 (Retained African & British Comm. 126 lb. Titles) 

 

1982

 28 Feb  Charm Chiteule          Zambia          KO10

 (Retained African & British Comm. 126 lb. Titles)

 26 Jun  Mukaila Bukare          Ghana           TKO6

 21 Jul  Salvador Sanchez       New York        LK 15

 (For World & WBC 126 lb.Title)

 

 31 Oct  Irving Mitchell         New Jersey      KO5

 

1983

 12 Feb  Ricky Wallace           Ohio            W10

 17 Aug  Alvin Fowler            Nevada          TKO2

 23 Sep  Alberto Collazo         Ohio            TKO2

 23 Nov  Kabiru Akindele         Nigeria         KO9

 (Retained African/British Comm. 126 lb. Titles)

 

1984

 9 Mar  Hector Cortez           Nevada          W10

 8 Dec  Wilfredo Gomez          Puerto Rico     KO11

 (Won WBC 126 lb.Title)

 

1985

 6 Sep  Juvenal Ordenes         Florida         KO5

 (Retained WBC 126 lb. Title)

 12 Oct  Pat Cowdell             United Kingdom  KO1

 (Retained WBC 126 lb. Title)

 

1986

 25 Feb  Marcos Villasana        California      W12

 (Retained WBC 126 lb. Title)

 22 Jun  Danilo Cabrera          Puerto Rico     KO10

 (Retained WBC 126 lb. Title)

 13 Dec  Aaron Duribe            Ghana           KO6

 

1987

 7 Mar  Mauro Gutierrez         Nevada          KO6

 (Retained WBC 126 lb. Title)

 29 Aug  Marcos Villasana        California      W12

 (Retained WBC 126 lb. Title)

 

1988

 29 Feb  Mario Martinez          California      W12

 (Won  WBC 130 lb. Title)

 25 Jun  Lupe Suarez             New Jersey      TKO9

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 10 Dec  Sydney Del Rovere       Ghana           TKO3

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

1989

 25 Feb  Mario Martinez          Nevada          TKO12

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 5 Nov  Jim McDonnell           United Kingdom  TKO12

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

1990

 19 May  Pernell Whitaker        Nevada          L12

 (For IBF/WBC 135 lb. Titles)

 13 Oct  Juan LaPorte            Australia       W12

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

1991
 16 Mar  Daniel Mustapha         Spain           TKO4
 26 Jun  Jeff Fenech             Nevada          D12
 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

1992

 1 Mar  Jeff Fenech            Australia       TKO8

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 7 Nov  Calvin Grove            Nevada          W12

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

 1993

 20 Feb  Gabriel Ruelas          Mexico          W12

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 10 Sep  James Leija             Texas           D12

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

 1994

 7 May  James Leija             Nevada          L12

 (Lost WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

 1995

 1 Dec  Gabriel Ruelas          California      KO5

 (Regained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

 1996

 1 Jun  James Leija             Nevada          TKO6

 (Retained WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

 --  Gains recognition as Lineal World Junior lightweight champion 

 1997

 22 Mar   (Loses World & WBC 130 lb. Title)

 

 1998

 11 Jul James Leija San Antonio     L 12

 (For IBA Lightweight title) 

 6 Nov   

 

Announces Retirement 

Interview 

2004: Boxing Hall Enshrines Azumah
By Nana Kwame 14/10/2015 22:31:00
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