Former IBF welterweight world champion Joshua Clottey’s ring return on March 8 in Ghana is not motivated by money but rather a hunger to regain the championship, he tells Joy Sports.
Clottey, 41, could join a limited list of the world’s oldest world champions if he is successful. He is coming off three years of rustiness and will be a co-main feature in the ‘Bukom Rumble’ fight night to be staged at Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra.
The bill, put together by Box Office Promotions, will be headlined by a Ghanaian lightweight title bout between champion Sherrif ‘One Time’ Quaye and Michael ‘One Bullet’ Ansah. The event will be live on pay TV network DSTV Super Sport.
Clottey, 39-5 (22 KOs), will face Mfaume (Mfaume Ahmad Said) of Tanzania. The 26-year-old Tanzanian is 14-5-2 (6 KOs).
“I want to fight and I still have the body to fight. Anytime I am sparring in the ring I think about the body and my body tells me I can still fight. After this fight my body will be calling for more fights,” Joshua told Joy Sports.
The former IBF champion is clear about his motivation for the fight.
“I am not doing this for money,” he said. “It is never a motivation for me at this time. I want the media to talk about me after this fight and I want them to tell me what they see in the ring and whether they think I am still going and I also want to honor my relationship with the promoter Alex Ntiamoah of Box Office Promotions.”
“I have been sparring and I feel like I still have the body to fight boxing. I have fought a lot of big guys. I made some good money in the sport and I’ve been able to put up some good property and other things in place for my children. I am not going to the ring because I am hungry but because I want to fight again.”
Joshua revealed to Joy Sports that the death of his trainer, Godwin Nii Dzanie Kotey (Alloway), in 2016 also had a massive psychological effect on him – one of the main reasons behind his three-year hiatus.
“I tried so hard to get him a visa so he could be in my corner for the Manny Pacquiao fight but unfortunately he didn’t. Alloway was a great and special guy. He cared about the boxer and was always interested in my welfare. He hardly bothered about the purse and how he would smile to the bank but the win for the boxer. God took away such a good man from me.”
Clottey who is now a junior middleweight boxer looks forward to challenging WBA and IBF world 154-pound champion, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.
“I look at the division and realize Jarrett Hurd is beatable. I have watched his fights severally and realize he is beatable. Let us take this fight first then we can concentrate on that,” he said.
Clottey has had some big days during his 24-year career. He fought Antonio Margarito, the late Diego Corrales, Miguel Cotto, Zab Judah and Manny Pacquiao among others.
Clottey was unable to defend the IBF welterweight title he won against Zab Judah in 2008. The IBF ordered a defense against challenger Isaac Hlatswayo of South Africa but Clottey opted for a payday of close to a million dollars to face Miguel Cotto on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day at the Madison Square Garden. Clottey opened a cut above Cotto’s eye but failed to exploit it. He eventually lost via a split decision to Cotto.
Potential to make History
Clottey, who now fights out of the Attoh Quarshie Gym in Accra, could join a list of the oldest boxing world champions in history. The Ghanaian former champion’s inspiration could come from three legends. Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins after breaking George Foreman’s record at age 46, went ahead to set a record at age 48 when he snatched the IBF light heavyweight world title from then-champion, Tavoris Cloud. Foreman after over a decade’s retirement returned at 45 to defeat Michael Moorer to win the IBF and WBA heavyweight world title. Roberto Duran was almost 38 when he challenged and defeated Iran Barkley to win the WBC world middleweight title.