Lawrence Carl Lokko has witnessed his shares of highs and lows during his 22-year tenure in boxing. Lokko, founder and head trainer of Bronx Boxing Gym in Ghana’s famed Bukom district, helped guide some of Ghana boxing’s top talent to international prominence, notably Richard Commey and Duke Micah.
These days days, he can be found at John’s Boxing Gym in the Bronx, New York, where he works with welterweight contender Fredrick Lawson, among others. Lokko and Lawson are busy preparing for the semifinals of the Jose Sulaiman World Invitational, a welterweight tournament that was recently postponed due to visa issues.
But the recent commentary from the undefeated Micah has got Carl’s attention as well. The pair split last July, when he issued the following statement on BoxingAfrica.com.
“I will no longer be working with Duke for personal reasons. However, I am grateful for the opportunity I had to work with him and wish him well in the future.”
Last week, Micah, fired several charges at Lokko that made the rounds on the social media circuit.
“He is spoiling my name in America,” Micah said. “You’ve gone telling people you won’t work with me anymore. If you won’t work with me anymore, go! Why are you spoiling my name? Go home and train a boxer from scratch and see if it’s easy.”
The most damaging accusation concerns the fighter’s finances.
“You conspire with people to swindle me, telling me there’s no money after I’ve fought. You’ve squandered my money and you’re telling me you’ll curse me? If I was your son, would you treat me that way? Even you, who go about perpetrating vice and stealing people’s money, God hasn’t betrayed you, but you’re betraying me. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the fruits of his labor?”
BoxingAfrica.com spoke exclusively to Lokko, who had plenty to say in the wake of these accusations.
You’ve been in camp with Fredrick Lawson here in New York. Can you give us an update on what’s going on with him?
Fredrick Lawson is doing good. We’re still in camp, awaiting confirmation for the new date for the semifinals of the WBC welterweight tournament. It was supposed to happen in Canada, but due to visa issues, the tournament was postponed. They haven’t given us a new date yet so we are hanging in there and staying ready.
Duke Micah made certain statements about you on social media. What was your initial reaction?
It was a shock to me to hear that this boy is saying all this about me. Yet still, I controlled myself and didn’t respond. I just took my time to see what exactly is going on. I waited and there was no changes to what I saw and what I heard.
A couple months ago, you released a statement that you were no longer working with him. Were there issues then?
To be honest, that press release came out because I was not comfortable with the way the boy behaved. So, I decided I can’t continue with him, and to focus on other things. If I was ready to share those issues, I would have done it when that press release came out.
I said I am leaving and I wish him well in his career. I made it clear to his managers, and everyone was okay with it. That means we had a peaceful decision, or they accepted my decision when I said that.
One of the things that was said was that you were giving him a bad name in America. What would make him say that?
He says he’s mature, that he’s a grown-up now. So, I have to take everything that he says serious. Have I gone on any social media or any form of media saying anything? When did I spoil his name and about what? You can’t just say I was doing that and not make it clear to the general public.
So, I don’t know the kind of spoil he’s talking about. If he knows he has done something wrong, then that is on him. If he knows he has not done anything, then why would he worry?
Another thing he said was that you conspired with others to swindle money from him.
(Laughs) Wow, life. To be honest, this is the part that is very troubling to me. One, he said that I have been stealing his money. Then he came back later to say that I have conspired with people to steal his money. I work with his managers. I don’t know the people he’s even talking about. I don’t control funds, I don’t control monies. I don’t deal with his contracts.
So do the checks come to you?
For now, I am taking this issue very seriously. My lawyers are working on it, because this is a big defamation of character. I don’t want to go deep into everything. He says I have stolen his money. So he has to have the evidence that I did that. I would prefer it be dealt within the courts. I have to take him on and sue him for him to come and explain or show everyone the proof. People in this world don’t appreciate when people do something good in their life. And that is the end of it.
How was your relationship with Duke before all this?
I was fully invested in it. I was doing everything I had to do. One, let me say he’s my small brother. Two, he’s my boxer and I’m his trainer. Apart from boxing, I talked to him about general life. We stayed together, I cooked for him to eat, I did whatever I had to do to make him happy and keep him going.
So, we were in a good relationship until I started seeing things I wasn’t comfortable with.
Is this something that can be resolved?
Again, I don’t want to say much. But this is what is on the table. He’s made it public. It’s too early for me to comment on that. I contacted his managers, Michael Amoo-Bediako and Jacob Zwennes. I spoke to Amoo-Bediako, for him to be aware because Bediako is not my enemy. We work together. So, his managers are aware of what is going on. He told me that I should relax and he’ll see what can be done to resolve it.
You worked with Duke in the UK, in Ghana and then in the US. What changed?
Nothing changed. I don’t know if the name America has changed him. But nothing changed. He would be able to answer that better. Because when Jacob brought him to me, honestly, Duke was doing local fights. All of his international fights, up to today, were with me. So if nothing at all, people can see the impact I have had in his career. He’s not even appreciating it, saying a whole lot of things about me. But that’s human beings for you.
It is what it is. He’s done what he wants to do, and now it’s time for him to face it. His twin brother, Daniel A. Micah, has also come out on social media to write against me as well. So they mean what they are doing. They should be ready. I’m not joking with this at all.
Daniel doesn’t have any evidence against me about his brother and he’s never worked with me. When he’s talking about other boxers, he’s just saying what he doesn’t know. When he says Duke Micah sacked me, I think those who can read, can read the press release that was issued July 5th. And you see what I said. I think he’s been to secondary school, so he should know how to read. So if he’s saying Duke sacked me, fine. That is him.
The media that issued the press release is my witness that I said this or that. Did the boy challenge the press release? Where were the managers when I put the press release out? So how can what Daniel is saying be a fact? He and Duke have called me a thief and said I stole with the managers. So maybe the managers will call them, but not me.
I’m just going to stay calm and allow the law to take its course. I’ve already said too much, but I have said enough. The money issues is the main thing I’m taking to court and we will let the law decide that.