New Faces: Duke Micah
Hometown: Accra, Ghana.
Weight class: Bantamweight
Height: 5-foot-7 (170 cm)
Amateur record: 144-6
Turned pro: 2012
Pro record: 20-0 (18 Knockouts)
Trainer: Carlo Lokko
Manager: Michael Amoo-Bediako and Jacob Zwennes
Promoter: Real Deal Sports and Entertainment
Best night of pro career and why: The young prospect feels his best performance to date took place a year ago. “Against Matthew Chanda for the [vacant] Commonwealth title in London,” Micah told RingTV.com. “It was my first major title outside Ghana and the crowd was very hostile and Chanda proved a very hard nut to crack.”
Micah won a 12-round split decision at the famed York Hall, Bethnal Green in the East End of London.
Worst night of pro career and why: Micah has won 18 of 20 fights inside the distance. With the exceptions of Chanda, only one other man had lasted the course with the hard-hitting Ghanaian.
“Joseph Adu in Accra,” he said. “I was disappointed not to stop him.”
Next fight: Micah will make his American debut against Jose Santos Gonzalez (23-4, 13 KOs), at Resorts World Casino, Queens, on Saturday.
“I haven’t seen much off him,” he admitted. “I realise that he has a lot of experience and he is Mexican, so (I have to be) fully prepared and focused as this won’t be a cake walk.”
The 27-year-old Gonzalez, from Guadalajara, turned professional in 2008. All except two of his fights have taken place in Mexico and both were losses. The biggest name he has faced is the excellent WBO bantamweight titleholder, Zolani Tete, who is the only man to stop him.
Why he’s a prospect: Micah has a good amateur foundation which has so far helped him.
His highlight moment came when he represented his country at the 2012 Olympics. He won his first-round bout before dropping a 19-8 decision to Ireland’s Michael Conlan in the last 16. He hopes to exact revenge as a professional.
During his time in the unpaid ranks Micah had considerable success, including victory at the Golden Gloves African championships in 2009. He won silver at an International challenge with Australia two years later and, the following year, prior to his Olympic experience, won gold at both the ECOWAS Games and African Zone 2.
His manager, Michael Amoo-Bediako, maintains Micah has yet to spar with anyone of note for a simple reason. “When Ghanaian fighters spar with top fighters and word gets around of how good they are, they then tend to get avoided,” he said. “We found that out with [another of my fighters, lightweight contender] Richard Commey.”
Amoo-Bediako expects his fighter to cause something of a storm on American shores.
“Duke is a very charismatic fighter. He loves to put on a show and play to the cameras,” said the amiable manager. “I think the American boxing fans will love him. As a person, he is very respectful and listens very carefully to advice given to him.
“He has a great knowledge of boxing and knows what it will take to be a world champion. I truly believe Duke will not only be a world champion but a multi-weight world champion.”
Micah says he has three key attributes: “My boxing skills, my workrate and being able to take a punch.” he said.
Why he’s a suspect: Micah has shown he can go the 12-round distance, but he hasn’t faced a noteworthy adversary to this point. However, the Ghanaian puncher is making steady progress.
“I work hard on every part of my boxing with my trainer Carl Lokko,” he said. “I not only want to be a world champion but a champion at different weights.”
Lokko has worked with Micah for two years and has stepped him up from local level to winning the Commonwealth title. He feels his pupil must improve in all areas to reach the upper echelons of the sport.
Storylines: Micah grew up in the notoriously tough suburb of Bukom in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.
The boxing hotbed has spawned boxing deity: Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey and Nana Konadu, to name just a few.
As a youngster, Micah found that trouble was never far away and he took to boxing out of necessity.
“I used to get picked on when I was young because of my size,” he said. “I wanted to grow up and defend myself and the only way I knew how was to box.”
Micah is very humble and recognises the wonderful opportunity he has been given due to his boxing skills.
“Facilities are poor [in Ghana]. Equipment is not top quality and the opportunities are few and far between,” he said. “If it wasn’t for my managers, Michael Amoo-Bediako and Jacob Zwennes, things would be very difficult for me.”
His managers have been able to work out a deal with Evander Holyfield’s promotional company to work with Micah.
“Speaking with Eric Bentley (Chief Operating Officer) of Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing, it was clear that we shared the same belief in the direction Duke should take,” stated Ammo-Bediako. “The fact that they were willing to bring Duke and his trainer to the USA says a lot about the way they are willing to invest in their boxers.”
Micah’s favorite boxer is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Although Micah is unmarried, his partner is expecting their first child soon.
“It’s important for me the grasp this opportunity I have with both hands, so we can earn enough money to support my family whilst I’m based in the States,” he said.
March 11 – Jonathan Aguilar – RTD 8
Nov. 12 – Matthew Chanda – SD 12
Aug. 6 – Yaqub Kareem – TKO 9
May 14 – Mikheil Soloninkini – TKO 4
April 16 – Reynaldo Cajina – KO 4
Dec. 26 – Ekow Wilson – TKO 8
April 30 – Joseph Adu – UD 8
March 14 – John Oblitey Commey – TKO 5
March 28 – Ekow Wilson – KO 3
June 8 – Billy Quaye – TKO 2
March 22 – John Oblitey Commey – TKO 3
March 2 – Kofi Boateng – TKO 6
Feb. 16 – Kofi Atanga – TKO 6
Feb. 2 – Issah Suleman – TKO 2
Jan. 12 – Solomon Oku – KO 2
Dec. 12 – Raymond Ansah – TKO 4
Nov. 30 – Felix Uzukwu – TKO 5
Nov. 16 – Mohammed Baba – KO 1
Nov. 9 – JJ Arku – KO 2
Nov. 2 – Michael Doe – KO 4
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On the cover this month: THE RING 100