Azumah arrived in Australia to launch his book “The Professor” at the start of the month but as soon as he landed he was on another plane taking him to the historic gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in the West Australian outback.
The Champion could not have wished for a more welcoming sight than the Ghanaian flag flying from the mast of the York Hotel.
On arrival after taking in the views of the “Super Pit” Australia’s largest open cut gold mine Azumah was taken to the Aboriginal Health services to see at first hand the work that is being done there to help the local Aboriginal people and also other who come in from the desert seeking medical assistance. It was abundantly clear that his taking the time to visit the staff and patients meant a great deal.
In the evening Azumah took part in a Question and Answer session at the York Hotel before signing copies of his book and mingling with the locals. There was no doubt many people there could not believe that a Champion of Azumah’s pedigree would take time out to visit the remote mining town and had to inch themselves that they were in his presence.
The next morning saw an early start as the flight back to Perth left at 6am. After landing it was straight to former WBC Super Middleweight Champion Danny Green’s newly opened gym. Here Azumah posed for photographs with Green for an article that appeared in the West Australian newspaper.
In other media opportunities Azumah appeared on Radio 6PR with morning show host Gary Adshead and also on 990am Information Radio’s Not The Footy Show. He was also interviewed on film for a documentary that is being made on Africa’s first World Champion Battling Siki.
In the evening Azumah was at another Gym, Peterson’s Gym belonging to the President of Boxing Western Australia Geoff Peterson. Here Azumah again was willing to share his experiences and spent a great deal of time helping female boxer Kylie Fulmer, whom he believed showed a great deal of potential despite having come to the sport late. Having been a boxer who was always in peak condition in his career, Azumah was impressed with her fitness and dedication. Also training that night and fresh from the Youth Olympics where she won a bronze medal was highly rated middleweight Caitlin Parker.
Other Gyms visited during his stay in Perth where the champ signed copies of his book and shared his wealth of knowledge were One More Round in Fremantle and Live Fitness in Northbridge.
In Fremantle, Azumah was happy to spend time with the local boxers in the ring and discuss the finer points of the art of boxing to a captive audience. While at Live Fitness he entered an impromptu sparing session with a few people at the gym including instructor and former Australian and Oceania Champion Claire Ghabrial.
Azumah also attended several other events during his busy schedule in Perth, including the Mining Conference, Africa Down Under, where he was a guest on the stand of Azumah Resources.
With South Africa taking on Australia at Rugby Union Azumah also attended as a guest the Nedlands Rugby Club Test Match lunch, where he signed copies of his book and also took part in a sparring session with a guest that was auctioned in order to raise funds for his Foundation in Ghana.
Next stop on the tour was Sydney and at the airport Azumah posed for pictures with the Australian rugby captain Michael Hooper and James Horwill the former captain.
First stop in Sydney was a visit to the Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) in North Sydney where Azumah was interviewed for the local newspapers and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
Azumah also met up with Cameroon born Sydney based Sakio Bika who recently became the former WBC & former IBO super middleweight champion. Azumah was also interviewed for a documentary on Sakio Bika that is currently under production.
Photographs were taken of the two African World Champions on the roof of a building in the city with the famous harbor bridge and Opera House in the background before it was time for another interview with renowned Australian boxing writer Paul Upham.
That night it was a dash across town to the gym of Kostya Tszyu who had his first professional fight on the undercard of Azumah’s famous victory over Jeff Fenech in Melbourne in 1992. Unfortunately Tszyu spends much of his time in Russia these days and Jeff Fenech was in Thailand so there was no chance for Azumah to meet the two former Australian Champions. Azumah did however meet Kostya Tszyu’s promising son Nikita who at 15 years of age showed that with the right genes and hard work he could well follow in his father’s footsteps although at a higher weight.
After signing books and posing for photographs at that gym he returned to PCYC where there was more signing to do.
An early start the next day saw an interview at 8am on Fox Sports television news and from there it was on to SBS television for another television interview and also a radio interview with fellow Ghanaian Martin Kwakwa.
Next stop on the whistle stop tour was Melbourne where Azumah again made his way to a number of key gyms to sign and sell books, Doherty’s gym in the city where many a visiting boxer has trained, and also North Melbourne Boxing and Fitness. Once again the Champion could not resist putting on the pads and giving the local boxers and those training in the gyms some tips on the rudiments of boxing, and how it truly is a fine art.
At North Melbourne former IBF super featherweight titleholder Barry Michael, and the two were happy to exchange boxing stories of old.
A quick trip was made to the Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG, as it is affectionately known as they wished to stock copies of “The Professor” and waiting for Azumah to sign a copy was Australian Rules Football Legend Alan Joyce.
Azumah then dropped in to meet with Adidas to discuss them lending some support to his Foundation and details of this arrangement will be announced in due course.
Following that it was on to Dandenong in the suburbs of Melbourne for “An Evening With Azumah Nelson.” This was the perfect way to round off two weeks in Australia.
Making the trip to Dandenong was former WBC Featherweight Champion Johnny Famechon, and the respect shown by each boxer to the other had to be seen to be believed.
It was a lesson in respect and humility.
Also attending was Pat Lamanna who unfortunately suffered career ending injuries in the ring back in 1972, and the true family of boxers would not have been more in evidence.
As the older generation reminisced the next generation were also in attendance Ibrahim and Qamil Balla. Ibrahim is a Super Bantamweight who fought at the London Olympics and is fighting for the Australian title in October and Qamil is a light welterweight who already holds the Australian title. Both listened intently as Azumah warned them of some of the pitfalls they faced the more successful their careers become. This was a wonderful evening and our thanks must go to the Albanian community and also to Dandenong Thunder Football Club who donated the money collected on tickets to the Foundation.
Azumah had one final day of signing books but a far more relaxing one when on his last day in Australia he was taken to the horse racing in the country town of Echuca by long time friend and horse trainer Tony Peacock. Just as it had been at the start of the trip few at the races could believe that the three time World Champion was really in their midst.
The ever-accommodating Azumah phoned one man’s father and spoke to him posed for photographs and signed copies of his book; and more importantly was the only one in the small party to back a winner.