The International Boxing Organization (IBO) has stripped Ghana’s Emmanuel “Game Boy” Tagoe of the world lightweight title he’s held since December 2016.
Tagoe, 28-1 (14 KOs), was required to take on mandatory challenger Fedor Papazovhas (21-2, 12 KOs) of Russia by June 17th.
With the date only a few days away and no bout scheduled or being negotiated, the IBO had no choice but to strip “Game Boy.”
Ed Levine, long-time president of the IBO, advised the Ghana Boxing Authority of their decision through a letter which states:
“I regret to inform you that on May 21st the IBO Championships Committee ordered that the IBO World Lightweight title held by Emmanmuel Tagoe be vacated due to his failure to comply with the requirements of the IBO Championship Rules and Regulations.”
Tagoe, 29, was largely inactive as a fighter and a champion.
He won the IBO title in December 2016, outpointing 43-year-old Mzonke Fana in Accra. An injury suffered midway through 2017 caused him to postpone a showdown versus former world champion Argenis Mendez.
After months of back and forth, Tagoe decided to forego a dangerous Mendez bout in favor of a safer one versus the unknown Fernando David Saucedo. The decision to change opponents last minute drew the ire of fans. IBO president Levin expressed disappointment in this decision at the time.
“It’s a very poor contract, but there is no breach,” he told BoxingAfrica.com. “Tagoe isn’t doing the honorable thing. However, it’s legal according to their contract, so he can do it.”
Nevertheless, Tagoe went ahead with the Saucedo bout in Accra. He stopped Saucedo in the tenth—some say unfairly, due to the incessant amount of rabbit punches that rendered Saucedo helpless.
The mandatory challenger was due next but the bout was never negotiated nor was an extension requested. Thusly, Tagoe is no longer a champion.