Former Hon. Secretary of the Commonwealth Boxing Council, Simon Block, has paid tribute to Alfred Kotey following his premature death at 52.
Through his successor Debbie Down, the CBC released a statement upon hearing the news from Ghana of the ex-world champion’s passing.
I am very sorry to learn from my old friend Yoofi Boham, of the death four days ago of our former Champion, Alfred Kotey, whose very successful early career in Ghana and the UK I remember very well.
He won our vacant Flyweight Title in Accra in 1989, successfully defending it a year later in the UK, vacating when he moved up in weight.
Four years afterward, he won the WBO Bantam Title defending successfully twice before losing it in 1995. But remarkably, bounced back in his next contest to win the WBC International Title, a Title he never lost in the ring.
His career became more erratic after that. Winning and losing a number of minor Title contests.
But when he twice failed to win the Ghanaian and African Boxing Union Superfeather Championship against fellow countryman Gideon Annor, drawing the first in 2000 and losing the second in 2001, it seemed clear that his career as a world-class boxer was over.
He carried on far too long until 2008 mostly losing, regrettably a story not unknown in this toughest of all sports.
Kotey will be remembered as a gentleman and a classy athlete. But also one whose talents inside the ring were almost certainly not matched by the sort of financial reward that may more easily accrue to homegrown heroes.
A fate that often befalls talented boxers who have to leave their homelands to pursue their careers in countries where opportunities exist to get to the top. But where success does not always translate into either a substantial ticket sales or television audiences.
On behalf of the Directors of the Commonwealth Boxing Council I ask Mr. Boham to convey to this fine Champion’s family, friends, and colleagues our most sincere sympathies.
SIMON BLOCK For the Commonwealth Boxing Council