By Andrew McCart (@Andy_FCBoxing)
I first met boxing manager and CEO of Streetwise Promotions Michael Amoo-Bediako in December 2013. It was backstage at the famous York Hall in London at the Philip Bowes Vs. Paul Appleby fight. Despite being in different corners that night, our mutual appreciate for the beautiful sport of boxing meant we hit it off instantly. We have talked on a regular basis since that fight and it was during this time that Michael was telling me all about a young prospect named Richard Commey who he believed would be a world champion one day and that he wants to promote major boxing events in Ghana.
Fast forward three years and Commey isn’t a world champion (yet). However, the 29-year old Ghanaian can look forward to fighting in is home country for the first time in over three years and fighting for the WBC International belt on Michael Amoo-Bediako’s Streetwise Promotions in association with Errol Hawks Sports Management, first major boxing event in Ghana, on March 11 at the newly built Bukom Boxing Arena, in celebration of Ghana’s 60th independent anniversary.
“I’ve been wanting to do something on that day for a few years now.” Amoo-Bediako exclusively told FirstClassBoxing.com. “But things just haven’t been in place. Now Richard (Commey) is a free agent I need to progress his career and Richard hasn’t fought in front of his home fans for a long time. Everything just fell in to place when Richard lost the fights for the IBF title, IBF eliminator and me going to the WBC convention and making my moves there.”
Commey was unlucky not to be crowned IBF world lightweight champion back in September of last year when he lost to American Robert Easter Jr. by spit-decision. Commey then followed that disappointing loss up with another split-decision loss to Denis Shafikov in Russia on December of 2016. Two back-to-back defeats to end the year is tough for any fighter, but Michael Amoo-Bediako is already looking ahead for 2017.
“Everybody knows Richard lost two fights… away from home against two home guys. If you go away from home and you lose by split-decision, you’ve normally at least drawn or won the fight… It was a bitter pill to swallow, but the fact of the matter is, the fights were there for us and we took them and Richard acquitted himself fantastically and has shown to everybody that he is worthy of being at that level. Now, we’re all 100% confident – as we were before – that Richard can compete at that level.
“We have to now plan meticulously in terms of getting Richard the right fights and moving him steadily forward to another world title shot.”
“Richard is ranked 10 with the WBC and the reason we haven’t been down the WBC route is because we fought for the IBF and then we had an IBF final eliminator straight after. At the WBC convention we managed to keep Richard at number 10 in the WBC rankings. So, therefore, it gave us another opportunity with another organisation to go forward.
“We’re not looking at any particular fighter. Richard will fight anybody, that’s the name of the game. You target one fighter, then they duck you, then you have to go looking for someone else. It’s not a matter of fighting the winner of Linares/Crolla or Zlaticanin/Mikey Garcia… whatever comes to the table, we’ll look at it and see what’s best.
“Richard has obviously lost two back-to-back, but he wants to now get on that winning level again and winning fights. This fight for Richard on March 11 isn’t going to be an easy fight, but it’s going to be a fight Richard is well capable of winning. Then we will have a look and see where the shake up is for eliminators and final eliminators in the WBC, but then it’s going to be who is going to want to fight Richard… everybody knows Richard is a tough nut to crack.
“When we do this first show, it’s going to give us an opportunity to do more in Ghana and hopefully give him backing so next time he is in a final eliminator he can fight it in Ghana.”
Commey is just one of three WBC International title fights named for the March 11 show. Also on the bill is unbeaten bantamweight prospect Duke Micah who Amoo-Bediako has high hopes for in 2017.
“Duke is a fantastic talent… Duke has got a better pedigree than Richard, because he was well established in the amateurs. He fought Mick Conlan in the amateurs and we would love to fight Conlan again in the pros. Conlan is starting up at super bantamweight, but they will meet because Duke wants that fight, he definitely wants that fight. Duke has won the Commonwealth title and he has a tough fight coming up. He is ranked 35 with the WBC, but this fight will take him in to the top 15. Then we will look for some fights just to establish him at world level, get him fighting regularly and we’ll go from there.”
This event on march 11 is just the tip of the iceberg for Michael Amoo-Bediako as he plans on showcasing Ghanaian talent on a regular basis in Ghana.
“In Ghana there is some fantastic talent out there and they need a platform to showcase their skills and get recognition. Too many Ghanaian fighters are brought over here and around the world as opponents and they are better than that and they need the opportunities. If we don’t get the opportunities in Ghana to try and build a good, solid promotional base within Ghana then they’re always going to be opponents. People like Richard, are going to find it difficult to find people to challenge them because they know their tough, they know they’re going to be strong. We need a base in Ghana were our fighters can fight at home and gain home advantage.
“A new open air arena that seats about 4000 has been built in the heart of Bukom and that is where the heart of boxing is in Ghana and its going to help us do more and more promotions over there.”by