The main event capped a night filled with controversial matches and the outcome sparked anger, doubt and confusion amongst fans and officials at ringside.
The under-card included two WBO continental championship matches. However, the focus of the evening was fixed on the WBO Africa light heavyweight clash between Ugandan challenger Hamza Wandera and the Ghanaian champion affectionately known as Bukom Banku.
Both boxers entered the ring in grand fashion and from the opening bell the Ugandan showed he came to fight. In the first round, Wandera was often the aggressor landing a barrage of heavy punches to the head and body of Kamoko. This attack climaxed when a left hook met its mark and sent Kamoko to the canvas.
However, the champion was quick to get back on his feet and after a standing eight count went on the offensive. Kamoko bullied Wandera around the ring and landed several heavy punches. Wandera retreated but the Ghanaian champ forced him into a corner. The round ended with the fighters wrestling for position and Wandera accusing Kamoko of illegal tactics.
The second round opened with Kamoko on the attack. He met the Ugandan in the canter of the ring, landed combinations and wrangled the challenger into the corner. In the third round it was clear Kamoko had taken control. The pair traded blows but most exchanges ended in a clinch. The two men locked arms and the referee forced them to break. Wandera complained Kamoko was fouling him in close and said a cut over his left eye was the result of a head-butt. Referee Roger Barnor asked him if he wished to continue, he agreed and was instructed to fight on.
At this point, Wandera turned his back, perhaps to address his corner. One of the primary rules of boxing is protect yourself at all times, and Kamoko took full advantage of the situation. He approached and struck the Ugandan with an illegal blow to the back of the head.
The referee intervened and deducted a point from the Ghanaian. When instructed to fight on, again, the Ugandan turned his back to the champion. This time the referee was there before any blows could be delivered. When asked if he wished to continue the Ugandan fighter was unresponsive to the ref and yelling to his corner. After a brief exchange between Barnor, the challenger’s corner and World Boxing Organization (WBO) Vice-president Andrew Smale, the ref signaled an end to the fight. The official decision retained the champion’s title and awarded Kamoko a TKO by forfeiture. However, the outcome left many questions unanswered.
In a post-fight interview, the Ugandan said he received unfair treatment from the referee and, “if he (Kamoko) wants to fight again with different refs, I’ll show him what boxing is.”
Kamoko was less receptive to the idea of a rematch, “he quit. I think he is scared of me. I hurt him, he won’t want to fight again.” Kamoko also demanded a shot at the WBO”s light-heavyweight world champion, Nathan Cleverly.
WBO Vice-President Andrew Smale was not convinced Kamoko would be next in line to face Cleverly, “He (Kamoko) won, but he didn’t win in championship form. Cleverly’s camp has been ducking the fight for a while, and tonight didn’t give them any reason to change that position,” he said. Smale also stated he was disappointed in the quality of officiating at the event dubbed Moment of Truth by promoters. “Their is a master score card. I keep track, and some people are going to have to justify the way they called the fights. At the end of this there may be some people who are no longer permitted to work WBO sanctioned events,” he said.
In earlier bouts, Joshua Okine defeated Argentina’s Amilcar Funes – a result many at ringside jeered. Also, Samuel Amoako was awarded a controversial win over Namibia’s Martin Hikali for the WBO Africa lightweight title. Eben Lamptey was battered over 12 rounds, but managed a unanimous decision over Eduardo Flores of Ecuador to win the WBO African welterweight title.
It should be noted, all but one of the presiding referees and officials, as well as, every victorious fighter was of Ghanaian descent. In fact, referee for the main event, Roger Barnor, is the next door neighbor of champion Kamoko.
A MESSAGE TO OUR READERS The coronavirus pandemic is a moment of reckoning for our community. We’re all hurting. It’s no different at Prairie Dog, where COVID-19 has wiped out advertisements for events, businesses and restaurants as Regina and Saskatchewan hunker down in quarantine. As an ad-supported newspaper already struggling in a destabilized media landscape, this is devastating. We’re hoping you, our loyal readers, can help fill in the gap so Prairie Dog can not only continue to exist but even expand our coverage — both in print and online. Please consider donating, either one-time or, even better, on a monthly basis.
We believe Prairie Dog‘s unique voice is needed, now more than ever. For 27 years, this newspaper has been a critical part of Regina’s social, cultural and democratic infrastructure. Don’t let us fade away. There’s only one Prairie Dog. If it’s destroyed, it’s never coming back.