Sport

I’ll be a world champion again – Ghanaian boxer

Former International Boxing Federation (IBF) world welterweight champion, Joshua Clottey, is looking forward to returning to the ring for the first time in three years to challenge IBF and WBA super welterweight titlist, Jarrett Hurd, as he eyes the world title.

The 41-year-old Ghanaian, who weighs 169 pounds, says he is willing and ready to fight undefeated Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) whom he describes as “a hungry young champion”.

Ten years after winning the IBF title with a unanimous decision over American Zab Judah, Clottey admits he still has a lot in his tank and cannot wait to become world champion again. Known as ‘The Hitter’, the once highly rated Ghanaian boxer said in an interview that he was still in shape to put up a good show and believed he had a couple more years left to prove a point before he finally hung up his gloves.

“I’m still in good shape. I fought good fighters, but I wasn’t really in a war. So, I can still put on a good show and I have a couple more years left in me,” he told sportingnews.com.

“I’m not ready to hang up the gloves. I weigh 169 right now. I will return to the junior middleweight division. I want to be a world champion again and I want to face Jarrett Hurd. He is a young hungry champion, but he can’t stand with me,” he said.

Clottey added his name to the nation’s rich boxing history when he defeated Judah in 2008 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas to claim the vacant IBF crown which he lost nine months later to Miguel Cotto in his first defence at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Since the loss to Cotto in 2009, Clottey has been largely inactive, averaging one fight per year. His biggest opportunity came in 2013 when he lost to legend Manny Pacquiao in a WBO welterweight championship fight before a crowd of 41,843 at newly built Cowboys Stadium (now AT&T Stadium) in Dallas.

It was the opportunity of the lifetime. Rather than seizing the moment, Clottey did nothing after dominating the early rounds before allowing the Filipino to run the show to win via a unanimous decision.

“Looking back, I feel like I made a mistake with the Pacquiao fight by not throwing punches. But sometimes, to tell you the truth, I feel like it’s OK. I had a lot of issues with my manager at the time, Vincent Scolpino,” admitted Clottey.

Clottey came back stronger from his defeat to win his next four fights before suffering a unanimous points decision to Gabriel Rosado in 2015.

In between, the former world champion returned in April 2014 to beat Australian Anthony Mundine over 12 rounds to win the WBA International super welterweight title.

Since then, the Ghanaian has fought just twice, winning one and losing the other.

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