Azumah Nelson

Azumah Nelson (born 19 July 1958, affectionately known as the Professor)[3] is a Ghanaian former professional boxer who competed from 1979 to 2008. He was a two-weight world champion, having held the WBC featherweight title from 1984 to 1987 and the WBC super-featherweight title twice between 1988 and 1997. He also challenged once for the unified WBC and IBF lightweight titles in 1990. At regional level he held the ABU, and Commonwealth featherweight titles between 1980 and 1982. Widely considered one of the greatest African boxers of all time,[4][5] he is currently ranked as the 31st greatest pound for pound boxer of all time by BoxRec.[6]

Azumah Nelson
Statistics
Nickname(s)
  • The Professor
  • Zoom Zoom
  • The Terrible Warrior[1]
Weight(s)
Height5 ft 5 in (165 cm)[2]
Reach68 in (173 cm)[2]
Born (1958-07-19) 19 July 1958 (age 64)
Accra, Ghana
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights47
Wins39
Wins by KO28
Losses6
Draws2

Amateur careerEdit

Nelson competed at the 1978 All-Africa Games and 1978 Commonwealth Games,[7] winning gold medals in featherweight at both events. He was awarded Amateur Boxer of the year by the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) that same year.[8]

Professional careerEdit

Despite all his early achievements and being undefeated in 13 fights, Nelson was virtually unknown outside Ghana.[9] Because of this, he was a decisive underdog when, on short notice, he challenged WBC featherweight champion Salvador Sánchez on 21 July 1982 at the Madison Square Garden in New York.[9] Nelson lost the fight by fifteenth-round knockout.

Featherweight championEdit

Nelson won all four of his fights in 1983, and he began 1984 by beating Hector Cortez by decision on 9 March in Las Vegas. Then, on 8 December of that year, he became boxing royalty by knocking out Wilfredo Gómez in round 11 to win the WBC featherweight championship.[10] Behind on the three judges' scorecards, Nelson rallied in that last round to become champion in Puerto Rico.

Super-featherweightEdit

Nelson began 1988 by defeating Mario Martinez by a split decision over 12 rounds in Los Angeles to win the vacant WBC super featherweight title. Nelson was dropped in the 10th round of their encounter and the decision was not well received.[11]

On 1 December 1995, defeated world champion Gabriel Ruelas in the fifth round to claim the title.[12]

His first defense took place almost a year later, when he and Leija had their third bout. Nelson retained the title with a six-round knockout. As had become his common practice, that was the only time Nelson fought in 1996.[13]

In 1997, Nelson lost the Lineal & WBC titles to Genaro Hernandez when beaten on points in twelve rounds.[14]

LegacyEdit

The Azumah Nelson Sports Complex at Kaneshie in Accra was named after him.[15]

BiographyEdit

In 2014 the biography of Azumah Nelson was published. Written by Ashley Morrison it was titled "The Professor - The Life Story of Azumah Nelson" (ISBN 978-1628571059) was published by Strategic Book Publishing.

Personal lifeEdit

Nelson has a son, Azumah Nelson Junior, whom Nelson is training as a boxer.[16] His mother was known as Madam Comfort Atwei Quarcoo and his sisters are Beatrice Abiana, Theresa Louisa, Lakia Felecia and Oboshie Susana.[3]

In July 2018, Azumah organized a fight night to celebrate his 60th birthday at the Bukom Boxing Arena. This event brought together fighters from highly rated gyms in the country to fight contenders in their divisions. Some dignitaries including Nii Lante Vanderpuiye and Nii Amarkai Amarteifio who are two former sports ministers, Ian Walker the British High Commissioner to Ghana and Peter Zwennes the president of the Ghana Boxing Authority, graced the occasion. In all there were five bouts, three of which were won by knockout.[17]

Professional boxing recordEdit

46 fights 37 wins 7 losses
By knockout 27 1
By decision 10 6
Draws 2
No Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
46 Loss 38–6–2 Jeff Fenech MD 10 24 Jun 2008 Hisense Arena, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
45 Loss 38–5–2 Jesse James Leija UD 12 11 Jul 1998 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
44 Loss 38–4–2 Genaro Hernández SD 12 22 Mar 1997 Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. Lost WBC super-featherweight title
43 Win 38–3–2 Jesse James Leija TKO 6 (12), 1:58 1 Jun 1996 Boulder Station, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC super-featherweight title
42 Win 37–3–2 Gabriel Ruelas TKO 5 (12), 1:12 1 Dec 1995 Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S. Won WBC super-featherweight title
41 Loss 36–3–2 Jesse James Leija UD 12 7 May 1994 MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC super-featherweight title
40 Draw 36–2–2 Jesse James Leija SD 12 10 Sep 1993 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, U.S. Retained WBC super-featherweight title
39 Win 36–2–1 Gabriel Ruelas MD 12 20 Feb 1993 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico Retained WBC super-featherweight title
38 Win 35–2–1 Calvin Grove UD 12 7 Nov 1992 Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC super-featherweight title
37 Win 34–2–1 Jeff Fenech TKO 8 (12), 2:20 1 Mar 1992 Princes Park Football Ground, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Retained WBC super-featherweight title
36 Draw 33–2–1 Jeff Fenech SD 12 28 Jun 1991 The Mirage, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Won WBC super-featherweight title;
WBC awarded Fenech retrospectively the title on 7 Nov 2022 after WBC's recount
35 Win 33–2 Daniyal Mustapha Ennin KO 4 (10) 16 Mar 1991 Polideportivo Principal Felipe, Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain
34 Win 32–2 Juan Laporte UD 12 13 Oct 1990 Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Retained WBC super-featherweight title
33 Loss 31–2 Pernell Whitaker UD 12 19 May 1990 Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. For WBC and IBF lightweight titles
32 Win 31–1 Jim McDonnell KO 12 (12), 1:40 5 Nov 1989 Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England Retained WBC super-featherweight title
31 Win 30–1 Mario Martínez TKO 12 (12), 1:18 25 Feb 1989 Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S Retained WBC super-featherweight title
30 Win 29–1 Sidnei Dal Rovere KO 3 (12), 2:04 10 Dec 1988 Accra Sports Stadium, Accra, Ghana Retained WBC super-featherweight title
29 Win 28–1 Lupe Suarez TKO 9 (12), 0:27 25 Jun 1988 Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained WBC super-featherweight title
28 Win 27–1 Mario Martínez SD 12 29 Feb 1988 Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S. Won vacant WBC super-featherweight title
27 Win 26–1 Marcos Villasana UD 12 29 Aug 1987 Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Retained WBC featherweight title
26 Win 25–1 Mauro Gutierrez KO 6 (12), 0:33 7 Mar 1987 Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC featherweight title
25 Win 24–1 Danilo Cabrera TKO 10 (12), 2:31 22 Jun 1986 Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico Retained WBC featherweight title
24 Win 23–1 Marcos Villasana MD 12 25 Feb 1986 Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Retained WBC featherweight title
23 Win 22–1 Pat Cowdell KO 1 (12), 2:24 12 Oct 1985 National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, West Midlands, England Retained WBC featherweight title
22 Win 21–1 Juvenal Ordenes TKO 5 (12), 2:45 6 Sep 1985 Tamiami Park, Miami, Florida, U.S. Retained WBC featherweight title
21 Win 20–1 Wilfredo Gómez KO 11 (12), 2:58 8 Dec 1984 Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico Won WBC featherweight title
20 Win 19–1 Hector Cortez UD 10 9 Mar 1984 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
19 Win 18–1 Kabiru Akindele KO 9 (15) 25 Nov 1983 National Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria Retained Commonwealth featherweight title
18 Win 17–1 Alberto Collazo TKO 2 (10), 1:40 23 Sep 1983 Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, U.S.
17 Win 16–1 Alvin Fowler TKO 2 (10), 0:41 17 Aug 1983 Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
16 Win 15–1 Ricky Wallace UD 10 12 Feb 1983 Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
15 Win 14–1 Irving Mitchell TKO 5 (10), 2:24 31 Oct 1982 Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey, U.S.
14 Loss 13–1 Salvador Sánchez TKO 15 (15), 1:49 21 Jul 1982 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, U.S. For WBC and The Ring featherweight titles
13 Win 13–0 Mukaila Bukare TKO 6 (10) 26 Jun 1982 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana
12 Win 12–0 Charm Chiteule TKO 10 (15) 28 Feb 1982 Woodlands Stadium, Lusaka, Zambia Retained Commonwealth featherweight title
11 Win 11–0 Kabiru Akindele KO 6 (15) 4 Dec 1981 Siaka Stevens National Stadium, Freetown, Sierra Leone Retained Commonwealth featherweight title
10 Win 10–0 Brian Roberts TKO 5 (15) 26 Sep 1981 Accra Sports Stadium, Accra, Ghana Won vacant Commonwealth featherweight title
9 Win 9–0 Miguel Ruiz TKO 4 (10) 18 Aug 1981 Stadium, Bakersfield, California, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 Don George KO 5 (10), 0:54 2 May 1981 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana
7 Win 7–0 Aziza Bossou PTS 8 6 Mar 1981 Lomé, Togo
6 Win 6–0 Joe Skipper TKO 10 (12) 13 Dec 1980 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana Won African featherweight title
5 Win 5–0 David Capo PTS 10 4 Oct 1980 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana
4 Win 4–0 Abdul Rahman Optoki TKO 8 (12) 2 Aug 1980 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana Retained Ghanaian featherweight title
3 Win 3–0 Henry Saddler TKO 9 (12) 1 Mar 1980 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana Won Ghanaian featherweight title
2 Win 2–0 Nii Nuer TKO 3 (8) 2 Feb 1980 Kaneshie Sports Complex, Accra, Ghana
1 Win 1–0 Billy Kwame PTS 10 1 Dec 1979 Accra Sports Stadium, Accra, Ghana

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "BOXING; A Fight for Recognition and 2 Titles". The New York Times. 19 May 1990. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b HBO Sports tale of the tape prior to the third Jesse James Leija fight.
  3. ^ a b "Comfort Atwei Quarcoo: The womb that birthed the legend Azumah Nelson". GhanaWeb. 25 January 2023. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  4. ^ Errol Barnett (11 August 2012). "Is Azumah Nelson Africa's greatest boxer?". CNN. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ Timothy W. Smith (11 July 1998). "Story: BOXING: The Best Boxer Nobody Knows; After 19 Years, the Career of a Ghanaian Legend Nears an End". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  6. ^ "BoxRec: Ratings". Boxrec.com. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Boxing 57kg - Men Edmonton 1978 | Commonwealth Games Federation". thecgf.com. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Ike Quartey". mobile.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b Michael Katz (22 July 1982). "SANCHEZ KNOCKS OUT NELSON IN THE 15TH". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Nelson takes Title". The New York Times. 10 December 1984.
  11. ^ GUSTKEY, EARL (1 March 1988). "Age and Zaragoza Catch Up With Zarate : Nelson Takes Unpopular Split Decision for Super-Featherweight Title". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  12. ^ Steve Springer (2 December 1995). "Ruelas Is KO'd by Nelson, Specter : Boxing: Champion loses his WBC title to 37-year-old challenger after "seeing" boxer who died after his previous fight". LA Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  13. ^ Tim Kawakami (2 June 1996). "Nelson Retains WBC Title With a Sixth-Round TKO". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Azumah Nelson - Lineal Jr. Lightweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  15. ^ "Sporting facilities and events renamed". BusinessGhana. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Azumah Nelson backs son to become world champion". 21 August 2017. Archived from the original on 24 November 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Knockout galore as Azumah crowns 60th anniversary with Azumah Nelson Fight Night". www.ghanaweb.com. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2019.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Preceded by WBC featherweight champion
8 December 1984 – 27 January 1988
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Jeff Fenech
Vacant
Title last held by
Julio César Chávez
WBC super-featherweight champion
29 February 1988 – 7 May 1994
Succeeded by
Preceded by WBC super-featherweight champion
1 December 1995 – 22 March 1997
Succeeded by
Awards
Previous:
Buster Douglas
KO10 Mike Tyson
The Ring Magazine Upset of the Year
KO8 Jeff Fenech

1992
Next:
Simon Brown KO4
Terry Norris