Scores of fanatic fans of boxers Michael Ayittey Okine (Ayittey Powers and Braimah Kamoko (Bukom Banku) went into frenzy yesterday as they created a carnival atmosphere amid occasional heckling at the Accra Sports Stadium when the two boxers made a grand arrival for the mandatory weigh-in ahead of today’s non-title fight.
The tension created by rival fans and the confidence exuded by both boxers suggested that the much-anticipated catch-weight fight would be as tough as predicted and put an end to the long-running debate about which of the boxers is the stronger.
Months of endless speculation, hype, controversies, postponements and uncertainties were almost put to rest when the two boxers mounted the scale for the mandatory weigh-in to herald the fight, with Powers seeking to become the first boxer to defeat Kamoko tonight.
According to an official of Ghana Boxing Authority, Naa Darkua Dodoo, the ring, brought in from South Africa by pay-TV channel SuperSport, will be mounted in the centre of the football field for the first time in recent years, in view of the huge tunout expected.
For the thousands of fans expected to throng the stadium, it would be a night of high expectation of a spectacle promised by both boxers and the general hype and buzz created by 33-year-old Powers, who has lost 23 times in 42 fights and hard-hitting Bukom Banku, a knockout specialist who has won 20 of his last 26 fights via the short route.
Media sideshows by the boxers and a heavy dose of controversy arising from Powers’ request for the postponement of the fight last month on the advice of his spiritual father, Temitope Balogun Joshua, his initial refusal to sign a supplementary contract to endorse this month’s bout, an order by the Ga Traditional Council (GTC) for the Ghana boxing Authority to cancel tonight’s fight in line with the ban on drumming and noisemaking ahead of the Homowo festival, have kept Judgement Night on the front burner, even though the initial enthusiasm by fans appear to have waned.
Despite these hurdles, the catch weight non-title bout presents Powers with a fine opportunity to deliver on his prediction of a sixth-round knockout. On the other hand, Bukom Banku, the pre-fight favourite, could make good on his prediction of a victory via knockout to silence his opponent and friend.
Both boxers are of identical height, standing at 178cm and 33 years of age. But Powers goes into the fight as the fighter with something to prove. His bid to end a losing streak which stretches over six fights in the last two years, faces the stiffest test of his career as he faces one of the most feared boxers with an unblemished ring record.
Kamoko’s last four fights have ended via the short route, leaving the Bukom pugilist as a firm favourite to carry the night.
He retired Georgian Giorgi Tevdorashvili in his last fight at the Accra Stadium a year ago, suffered a first round knockdown at the hands of Ugandan brawler, Hamza Wandera, at the same venue on February 5, 2012 before rallying to score a technical knockout in round three of what has been described as one of the toughest bout of his 26-fight career.
What he lacks in ring craft and good footwork, Bukom Banku makes up for his limited skills with amazing punching power and endurance. His strategy of looking for a knockout punch against difficult opponent looks set to continue tonight having dared the boxing regulatory body to ban him if he was unable to stop Powers.