Azumah Nelson: a well deserved play honours him

Azumah Nelson, Africa’s greatest pugilist and one of the greatest pound for pound boxers in the world, never expected that he will be getting the full Hollywood treatment in his lifetime when he started boxing at an early age in Accra.

In Ghana, it is the dead that is usually celebrated with everything from posthumous honours, renaming of roads and public buildings, movies, books, and their etching in the history of the nation. But these times are different.

Apart from a colourful and successful career in boxing, the man has become an authority in the sports in Ghana and the world, has been woven into the fabric of the Ghanaian society, has a well written biography about him, has his own foundation for the development of the sports, naming of the country’s sport complex after him, and now has a play coming up to celebrate his life.

Launched by Heritage Theatre Series, one of the fastest rising theatre production houses in the country, the project will tell the life story of Africa’s Greatest Boxer, Azumah Nelson, in a spectacular stage play titled Zoom Zoom: Once Upon A Champion.

The play, according to its writer and producer Chief Moomen, “will be a beautiful mélange of music, dance and drama, with exciting well-choreographed boxing scenes.  It will trace the life of Azumah as a young aspiring boxer in Bukom to the celebrated champion on the international stage. Overall, it will be a glorious celebration of the champion’s life.”

Speaking at a press launch in Accra to outdoor the project to the public, the boxing champion, Azumah Nelson, expressed his excitement about the project as well as his confidence in Chief Moomen and his team to do a great job.

He stated that having seen a number of productions by Chief Moomen, he believed that the young poet and playwright was the right person to tell his story. And that he believed in supporting the youth to achieve their dreams.

The Azumah play is scheduled for December 2018 in three levels; A strictly by invitation VIP show, a regular show open to the general public at the National Theatre and a special show at Bukom to take the Azumah story to where it all begun.

Chief Moomen called on Ghanaian companies, institutions and personalities to support the production in order to celebrate a true Ghanaian hero in most befitting manner.

The Heritage Theatre Series, was launched four years ago to tell Ghanaian and African stories through spectacular theatre productions.  They are producers of the critically acclaimed “WogbeJeke” stage plays which have captivated audiences with their grand reenactment of Ghana’s history.

Born the year after Ghana gained independence, Azumah Nelson played a major part in putting this new country on the world map. A glittering amateur career saw him win every title except an Olympic medal, as Ghana boycotted the 1980 Games when he was a favourite to win. After turning professional, he took a last-minute bout for the world title with the great Salvador Sanchez, a bout that changed his life.

Azumah Nelson officially launched his biography titled “The Professor- the life of Azumah Nelson” in Ghana on Wednesday October 29, 2014 at Alisa Hotel, North Ridge in Accra at 6pm.

The event brought together many of Ghana’s top dignitaries including former presidents, and sports personalities. Former President Jerry John Rawlings took to the stage at the launch to pay tribute to the man who helped lift a nation’s spirits while Rawlings tried to right the nation politically and financially.