Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pacquiao/Clottey: Ghanaians rally behind Joshua Clottey

By Prince Dornu-Leiku - WBO Welterweight title challenger Joshua Clottey has received the full backing of his countrymen ahead of March 13’s big fight against Manny Pacquiao. Clottey goes into the fight as a huge underdog against the man who has won seven world titles in seven weight categories but Ghanaian boxing chiefs led by former world champion Azumah Nelson have reposed a huge confidence in the 32 year old Joshua Clottey.

“My fear is that Manny Pacquiao is a southpaw because they are hard to fight but Joshua has given us an assurance that he knows how to fight southpaws so I am relieved. I will advise Joshua to train hard but I know him and I know that he will not rest. We will be there to support him physically and mentally,” stated Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson at the press conference organized by the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) in Accra this morning to show support for Joshua Clottey..

Azumah, now Technical Director of GBA, was surrounded by the bigwigs of Ghanaian boxing as well as top government officials on the high table at the press conference as the nation formally threw support behind the boxer. Clottey who like many of the country’s top boxers have endlessly criticized the GBA for a lack of support, confessed that he goes into the fight against Pacquiao feeling like he is fighting for Ghana for the very first time. “I am encouraged by what I am seeing and hearing today and for the first time I am thinking about the nation which will make things harder for Manny Pacquiao. The nation didn’t support us much in the past but if now they are ready to get behind us, that is the best motivation I can get. And I promise to win the title for Ghana,” Clottey told the press conference at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.

Joshua still battling US immigration officials in Accra for his trainer Godwin Dzanie Kotey and assistant Daniel Clottey to get visa clearances to travel with the boxer to the US, was very emotional on the issue pleading with the US Embassy to even issue a two-month visa for the trainers and it will be enough. He even made a plea to Ghana President Atta Mills to personally get involved to help with the visa application. “The nation is with you in spirit and we pray to God to guide you unto victory. The NSC will also take over the visa issue so that Alloway can travel with Joshua,” said Worlanyo Agrah, CEO of the National Sports Council (NSC) of Ghana before leaving the room of the press conference and returning few minutes later with the promise that the necessary contacts are being made for Clottey’s trainer to be issued with the visa.

Clottey meanwhile is scheduled to depart Accra for the US on Friday hopefully with coach Alloway to begin final preparations for the big fight on March 13. He has again assured his countrymen that nothing will stop him from beating Manny Pacquiao even if the stakes are highly placed against him. “I am taking this fight not for the money but to win the title. I know its Pacquiao but I don’t want people thinking that Manny is super, that nobody can beat him. He is a human being like me. He has lost three times and I have also lost three times. We speak, laugh and share jokes together. I promise that I will dethrone him,” Joshua Clottey said.


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