ON Saturday, November 12, undefeated bantamweight prospect Duke Micah will return to the UK to meet Matthew Chanda (7-0, 2 KO’s) for the vacant British Commonwealth title at York Hall in Bethnal Green. For Micah (18-0, 17 KO’s), the bout represents another step in his quest to hoist a world title. The stoic 25-year-old has been touted for greatness since his early teens, beating a who’s who of local fighters in his native Ghana before representing the country at the 2012 Olympics.
Once Micah turned pro, he signed on with UK-based Streetwise Management, an organization that has been critical in the revitalization of boxing in Ghana. His trainer, Lawrence Carl Lokko, is arguably the best in the nation. Boxing News sat down with Micah, Lokko and Streetwise Managing Director Michael Amoo-Bediako as they outlined their collective goals one step at a time.
Duke, how has training camp been so far in this camp?
Training has gone really well. I did most of my training back in Ghana at my trainer Carl Lokko’s gym, Bronx Boxing Club, and now just finishing of at my manager Michael Amoo-Bediako’s Pro SW Gym in Loughton, Essex.
What kind of sparring have you been getting in the UK?
I have been sparring my gym mate Ramez Mahmood and also Reece Belotti who is a two-weight ABA champion and is trained by James DeGale’s trainer, Jim McDonnell.
What, if any, are the differences between training in Ghana and training in the UK?
The weather [laughs]. It’s cold in the UK now.
Is it more difficult to train so far away from home, family and friends?
No, because once I start training camp I am fully focused so it doesn’t matter where I am.
Your opponent Matthew Chanda is known for being very tough, in and out of the ring. Give us your thoughts on him and what you are preparing for.
I know he will come to fight and he showed that he is a fighter by taking this fight so we have left no stone unturned in our preparation.
The British Commonwealth title will be on the line for this fight. What does a win here mean for you?
The title means a lot to me and all Ghanaians because we can use it to start challenging the best in the UK and around the world. I hope after I win it the other UK boxers won’t run from me like they did Richard Commey.
Michael, In terms of the belts and sanctioning bodies, do you have an idea of where Duke might be ranked if he wins?
At the moment he is ranked #13 by the WBO but by winning the Commonwealth title we hope to get a top 15 ranking in the WBC, IBF and WBA.
And assuming he does win, what would be the next step for him?
To defend his belt as soon as possible hopefully in Ghana in the new purpose built boxing arena near Bukom in Accra, Ghana.
Michael and Carl, there is always concern about making sure a fighter progresses the right way. How as the manager and how as a trainer, do you ensure your fighter is being moved at the proper pace?
As we did with Richard Commey we look at the landscape and see what options are available for our fighter to progress with his career. After that, we then we take into consideration how he is progressing in the gym before we choose opponents or titles to chase.
Carl, how far away is Duke from becoming a world title contender?
I believe if we get another four to five fights with the right opponents we should be there.
Duke, you are 25, a former Olympian and growing in popularity in Africa. Do you feel added pressure to become a world champion?
There is no pressure. It motivates me as all I want to be is a world champion then after that a multi-weight world champion.
Ultimately, what are your main goals in the sport?
Winning a world title, becoming a multi-weight world champion and also to leave a legacy in Ghanaian boxing as great as Azumah Nelson’s.