It was supposed to be Duke Micah’s moment.
After years of toiling in Ghana, the UK, and then the US, Micah had clawed his way to the biggest stage.
On September 26, 2020, the undefeated Micah, Ghana’s latest hope, took on WBO World Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero in a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) pay-per-view live from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
On the surface, the 29-year-old Micah was hungry and primed to snatch the world title and bring glory to the boxing-rich nation.
Then reality struck.
Casimero badly hurt him in the second round with a left hook. Micah never recovered. The fight was mercifully stopped one round later.
Ghana boxing fans were perplexed. Micah lacked a cohesive gameplan and the focus needed to compete at the highest level that night. Yet the fighter is adamant that the outcome everyone witnessed in the ring can be attributed to what occurred outside of it.
“I went through so many things psychologically in the build-up to the fight with Casimero,” Micah said during an interview with BoxingAfrica.com. “It really affected my performance.
“But I’m ready to make amends.”
According to Micah, the real fight began as far back as 2018, when he was out of the ring for a year due to promotional issues with the now-defunct Real Deal Promotions.
“It was a very tough situation for me at the time because I was inactive and I dropped out of the various ratings by the sanctioning bodies,” Micah recalled.
“When the issues started, my manager [Streetwise Management Founder, Michael Amoo-Bediako] told me he was engaging some lawyers to sort out our differences but that didn’t happen and I had to suffer for it.”
Once Micah was freed from the Real Deal contract, the UK-based Amoo-Bediako joined forces with American advisor/manager Keith Connolly to bring the fighter to PBC, which boasts the largest stable of American boxing stars.
Micah also left long-time trainer Lawrence Carl Lokko, who had been training him in the Bronx, New York. He relocated to Brooklyn, New York, to be trained by Andre Rozier in another move arranged by Amoo-Bediako.
“The Baby-Faced Terminator” looked much improved in his two fights in 2019, winning both and setting the stage for the world title shot last September.
But before the bout was announced, Micah unceremoniously fell out with Amoo-Bediako.
“I realized my manager was cheating me by the amount of money he was taking from my fight check,” Micah said. “People like Andre Rozier confirmed that to me when I complained, so I took the decision to stop him from coming closer to me and that was why he wasn’t at my fight with Casimero.”
Further exasperating the problem were issues with his own family in Ghana; issues Micah says were caused by Amoo-Bediako when the manager returned to the country, visited Micah’s family and allegedly lied to them about the fighter.
“How do I win a fight when my whole family was against me during the preparation for the biggest fight of my career? My manager succeeded in ruining my family and as I speak to you now, I’m yet to sort issues out with my mother, brother and wife,” said Micah.
Micah says his contract with Amoo-Bediako has expired and he’s now a free agent. The Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA), however, disagrees with this assertion.
“I can tell you on authority that Duke Micah has a valid contract with Streetwise Management,” said Patrick Johnson, General Secretary of the GBA.
“I don’t know why he is saying that. The GBA’s contract stipulates a two or more year’s extension on any contract signed and that makes their contract valid.”
Micah also says he has a good relationship with Connolly and maintains that he is not being cheated by him, although Connolly’s partnership is with Amoo-Bediako, and not the fighter directly.
Further, Micah wants to re-enlist ex-trainer Lokko.
“I had issues with Carl Lokko in the past but I believe it will be better for me to have a local trainer going forward. That will be enough to land me the world title.”
Whether Rozier would go along with such an arrangement remains to be seen. For now, Micah will have to work his way back toward that kind of title shot. Given the nature of the loss to Casimero, that may not occur for a while. When that time comes, Micah promises a different result.
“It was my poorest performance in the ring since I turned professional. But I learnt my lessons.”