Emmanuel “Game boy” Tagoe combined skills and artistry in the early hours of Sunday, to defeat George “Red Tiger” Ashie to annex the World Boxing Authority (WBA) International Lightweight Champion at the Accra Sports Stadium.
In a bout which was described as one of the greatest on the local scene after the famous Raymond Narh and Smith Odoom bout ten years ago, Tagoe proved to be the superior and lived by his pre-match prediction by dominating much of the rounds to win a majority decision of 114-114, 113-115 and 112-116 at the end of the day.
The bout, which was staged under the auspices of Baby Jet Promotions attracted a huge attendance at the Race Course end of the stadium, but was definitely not without the unique way boxers appeared in the ring.
Ashie, who was ushered into the ring, amidst drumming and dancing was dressed in a skin of tiger to signify his nick name, whilst Tagoe rode on a palanquin, holding a royal matchet in one hand and a whip in one hand, warning his opponent of the punishment ahead of him.
Ashie, noted for his biting punches, aggression and power, could only exhibit these traits in the first three rounds of the bout, but unfortunately failed to land accurate punches in the process as he seemed to be in a haste to knock out his opponent or had Tagoe swerving most of the punches.
Though, Ashie on most occasions was able to attack his opponent to the corner of the ring, it was Tagoe, who always had the best of such encounters, by ensuring he swerved most of the punches and responded with very hefty jabs to the surprise of Ashie; all in the first three rounds.
In a fight many pundits predicted will be difficult for Ashie, should he fail to knock out Tagoe in the first three rounds, it indeed materialized as Ashie seemed to be tired after the exhaustive first three rounds, leaving Tagoe to skillfully to jab him on countless occasions in the fourth and fifth rounds with no response from Ashie.
Indeed, this showed up in Ashie’s approach to the fight as he committed two illegalities which however went unpunished by referee Emmanuel Brenya.
In the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds, the two pugilists ferociously traded off punches from corner to corner, but again it was Tagoe who had much of the points as he was always on hand to swerve most of them, whilst landing accurately.
As the fight progressed, it was evident Tagoe was in a clear lead, occasionally landing very heavy punches to the face of his opponent, which sometimes takes Ashie off his balance, as he failed to find the right response, especially in the ninth and tenth rounds.
Sensing danger, Ashie came back strongly in the 11th round, and resumed attacking his opponent, seeking to find the killer punch that could end the fight in his favour, but Tagoe was always swift to avoid any of such punches, but responded with very good punches on the body and face of Ashie.
Again, Tagoe was always quick at clinching his opponent after landing his punches and ended up frustrating Ashie especially in the 11th and 12th rounds to ensure his dominance as well.
Though both boxers were carried shoulder high after the 12th round, expecting to be declared the winner, it was clear that, the verdict will be in favour of Tagoe, as well several pundits had scored the fight for him. GNA