Bukom’s young warriors: Juvenile boxing a breeding ground for Ghana’s champions

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On most nights, men and women exchange blows in the squared circle at the Bukom’s boxing arena with a sellout crowd watching and yearning for the next big thing in Ghana.

Juvenile boxing has been one of the community’s biggest production bases of boxers. Kids from the ages of 10 to 12 are regularly paired against each other as undercard fighters since 2022, keeping attendants glued to their seats before the headline cards arrive.

We met Desmond Addy, an 11-year-old who trains at the Bukom Boxing gym after school each day. He has three fights in his young career so far and his record stands at two victories and one draw. For the young boy, becoming a world champion, just like other Ghanaians before him, will mean everything.

My brother’s friend Majid introduced me to boxing. I was seven years old at that time. I like watching Gervonta Davis fights. Because of him, I want to be a world Champion,” Addy told 3Sports.

Addy takes his lessons from Augustus Dodoo, a young man who is no stranger to mentoring the younger generation. It has not been an easy endeavor for him.

“It’s a normal training for the kids but we basically don’t put much pressure on them,” Dodoo said.

Some of these kids go back home after training before they are able to find something to eat during the day. Sometimes it becomes a burden of coaches to feed them,” Dodoo added.

Juvenile boxers are tested each day. They go through the toughest of training sessions and are expected to land big hits in the ring. It is only natural that questions will be asked about the health of these young boxers.

A major risk these juvenile boxers are likely to face is head injury due to the punches they receive to their head. In the medical field, head injuries are quite fatal. There is a probability that they can get hand injuries and cuts as well. Boxing can take a toll on their mental health. They can become anxious and depressed,” Charles Kumi, a physician, told 3Sports.

But this risky sport has its benefits. The likes of Azumah Nelson, Isaac Dogboe and others took their first swings at tender ages. Eventually, they became world champions. There is concern though on the development of the next generation of boxers. Legendary boxing manager Yoofi Boham has a solution to this problem.

When I visited Cuba, I encountered the youth being picked up by gyms. Every gym has a youth division which is a good idea [if you want to breed more champions],” Boham stated.

Juvenile boxing has everything; potential, excitement and risks. It is not going away anytime soon but It can only get better.