Lamont Peterson, Gary Russell Jr, Gervonta Davis, Jarrett Hurd, Austin Trout and Erickson Lubin. Many of boxing’s premier American talent call the Washington, DC-Maryland area home.
Ghana’s Dodzi Kemeh does as well. The 26-year-old hard-hitter left his homeland earlier in the year and settled in this hotbed area. Kemeh, 19-1 (17 KO’s), has since worked with some of the best in the area, including names above, in preparation for his U.S. debut. BoxingAfrica.com caught up with him following a series of hard sparring sessions as he provided a career update, his thoughts on Ghana boxing and an impassioned plea to the authority figures in his native country.
Dodzi, thank you for taking the time out to speak to us. How’s everything been for you so far?
Thank you. Everything is okay so far. Just working.
You’re now based here in the United States, over here working. Has it been different for you compared to Ghana?
A very big difference. In terms of the sparring. We just got back from the gym where we did some sparring. The sparring was okay. To be frank, the sparring I’m getting over here, I’m not getting that in Ghana.
It’s a big difference?
It’s a very big difference.
So, do you feel yourself improving?
Yes, I see myself improving. You know, the other day—the first day—when we went to the gym, we fought and today I can say I did better than the last. So, you know, everything is improving.
Aside from just boxing, you’re also transitioning from one country to another country. How has life been for you here and what are your thoughts so far?
Well, for me, to be a champion you have to train in the U.S. Because everything is here; from sparring, pad work, the facilities, everything is here. To be a champion you have to train in the U.S.
So, you don’t miss the good Ghanaian food?
(Laughs) You know, my manager is trying for me. Preparing Ghanaian food for me so I’m okay so far.
What is the next step for you? What are you looking at, in terms of your timeline and how you plan to move forward?
To be frank, my target is that in less than two years, we have to hold a world title. That is my dream. So, I’m working very hard to reach that.
Do you have a timetable for when we’ll see you back in the ring?
It all depends on my manager. For me, I’m just getting ready.
As we talk right now, it seems there is a lot going on with Ghana boxing. Isaac Dogboe just won recently, Richard Commey has a fight coming back and Emmanuel Tagoe is supposed to face Argenis Mendez. Give us your thoughts on what’s going on – now that you’re here and you can see both sides, do you have any advice you want to give to the Ghanaian boxers?
To be frank, I would say that they are all doing well. I wish them good luck because it’s been a very long time since Ghana has held a title. So, I’m praying for all of them to gain a world title. We need a world title for Ghana. So, either Dogboe, Richard Commey [Note: Commey has since relocated to the U.S.], Emmanuel Tagoe…right now, they are there, so they have to work very hard to bring a title for Ghana.
Is there any Ghanaian fighter that you look up to or who motivates you?
I love Ike Quartey so much. I like his jab and everything he does in the ring, I love it. I wish I could train and be like Ike Quartey.
So, you watched his great fights…
(interrupts) Yes, like versus Oscar De La Hoya. I watch that fight every day.
How about some of the other welterweights today? Is there anyone that you look toward or would want to face?
Another one of my favorite welterweights is [Floyd] Mayweather but he’s going off [retiring]. But I’m now here so we’re also training and working and watching so that one day we can also challenge that top person. That is my dream.
Dodzi, anything you want to say in closing to your fans in Ghana and in Africa?
I just want to tell them that they should keep on praying for we, the boxers. It’s not easy. And I would say, to be frank, that the Ghanaian government is not serious about boxing. They just focus on football. Boxing is the first sport that brought a title to Ghana. They should know that. But to me, they are not pushing boxing at all. To start boxing in Ghana and to reach the top, is not easy. So, we are praying that they do something. We have passion to do something for the game so they should support us. It’s not always football, football, football.
They have to do something for boxing. At times, I ask myself, why do they call themselves Minister of Sports or Sports Ministry? No, he’s just a football minister. If you’re a minister of Sports, you have to focus on all games. Because I believe we have the talent in Ghana. What they spend on football and the Black Stars, if they spent a little bit on boxing, we would bring a world championship to Ghana, I’m telling you. Ghana boxers, we are suffering. Our boxers are suffering.
Dodzi, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.
You are welcome, sir.