Its Tuesday Night and Yakor Annan Chavez is in relaxed mood as she interacts with Asempa FM’s Sports Nite host Enoch Worlanyo in an exclusive interview.
Chavez still gets the same adrenaline rush the first time she stepped into the boxing ring 20 years ago.
“I just stepped out of the boxing gym and headed straight to the studio. In boxing you must always be ready and prepared for the next opponent. So I don’t relent on myself.”
0The women’s boxing division remains one of the least focused areas in sports with next to nothing financial reward. “I don’t know when my next bout is. Neither do I know who my opponent would be but I’m ever ready to fight no matter the amount involved. I would fight for anything because I need to demonstrate that I’m still out there.”
Being in a sport division that fetches little financial reward means an extra income generating means. “Before I even entered into active boxing I was already a hairstyler. Now I’m a full time beautician.”
She delves into solemn mood as she paid tribute to Ghana Boxing Association President Peter Zwennes and philanthropist Alhaji Inusah. “They’ve been of great help to me in this journey. I got to a point I wanted to throw everything away but he [Alhaji Inusah] brought me back into the sport and got me a fight in Russia.”
She recounted some of the challenges she has to scale in female boxing. “You travel alone with no one to back you. In Russia if I had gone with an official to back me I would have won but it ended in a draw. There were similar challenges in Germany.”
Yakor Chavez grew up in Africa’s leading boxing hub – Bukom, the vicinity that has produced many boxing world beaters.
“If you’re born in Bukom boxing runs through your blood and DNA because everything is boxing there. Right opposite my house is the boxing gym. And, Ike Quartey is my direct blood relative so I got it.”
Her face beams with thrills as she recounts her first experience in the boxing gym.
“I used to tie my hands with rags and trained barefooted. I trained with Bukom Banku, Alfred Tetteh, Bukom Tsatsu, etc. But I wasn’t scared. Yes! They pounced the hell out of me but I was determined and it toughened me.”
In her 26 boxing boots, Chavez has picked 12 wins, drawn 6 and lost 8 in the Super Banter Weight division.
She narrated how her first bout happened. “Aloway, the late boxing trainer got in touch about a fight and my coach approved it. It was a great moment as I was taken round for publicity and the attraction that came with it. I won the fight masterfully and that sparked the believe in me. Up next the Nigerian national champ by name Dedi Agbo was also beaten and then I had that total self confidence and believe that I would climb every mountain in the sport.”
Chavez says her mother didn’t approve of the idea of boxing when she started. “I has identified black spots on my botton lid which angered my mother who asked me to stop. But she came to embrace everything when she started seeing me on TV and in the dailies.”
Just like every other sporting discipline in Ghana recognition is a major problem and that worries Chavez. “Sometimes its painful when I show up at boxing events and I’m asked to buy ticket to enter. It simply means recognition isn’t here. I was the first lady to take to ring in Ghana yet I don’t get recognised by anywhere which isn’t good enough. It’s about time Ghana recognise our contribution to the sport.”
By El Akyereko
Follow the writer on Twitter: @akwasiakyereko