Lightweight contender Emmanuel ‘Gameboy’ Tagoe is inching closer to a world title shot.
Tagoe is slated to fight in May in a WBO world lightweight title eliminator bout which will take place in the United States. No opponent has been named at the time of this return but it figures to be a tough test for the WBO’s fourth-ranked 135-pounder.
Not that the ostentatious Ghanaian is concerned.
“I believe after my title eliminator in my upcoming fight, there is no way the title will dodge me or Ghana and that is the focus now,” Tagoe told BoxingAfrica.com.
“I was supposed to fight for the world title eliminator last year but the COVID-19 robbed me off that opportunity and I returned to Ghana in March.
“That really affected my chances because I had difficulties returning to the US on time due to boarder closure in Ghana. It made me inactive and by the time I got the chance to fight, I had dropped in the ratings.”
After a 16-month layoff, Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) returned to the ring last November, winning a 10-round majority decision over Mason Menard (36-5, 25 KOs) in Florida.
Two days after the bout, Tagoe returned home to for a much-needed break to spend time with his family in Ghana.
“I started my training camp in the US and COVID-19 destroyed my initial fight with Ray Perez,” said Tagoe. “When I resumed training for the Menard fight, I had a shoulder injury and all that affected me in the ring but I prevailed.
“It has always been my personal decision to be coming back to Ghana after fights just to follow in the footsteps of Azumah Nelson and the likes.”
The 32-year-old Tagoe has resumed training in his home country to maintain his shape before moving back to the US in the coming weeks to continue preparation for the May bout.
“Training here in Ghana without my trainer hasn’t been difficult because I have an experienced trainer Adama Addy helping me out with my weight maintenance,” he said.
“I only want to go and start training there early because I will be fighting in the US. Initially, I have been finding it difficult in making the lightweight but since meeting my new trainer Javiel Contento, I have learned how to manage my weight.”
One of the hottest divisions in the sport, the lightweight class boasts names like Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Vasiliy Lomachenko and fellow Ghanaian Richard Commey. Tagoe is eager to join the fray.
“I am ready to face anybody in the division because I don’t fear any fighter at 135 pounds,” Tagoe declared. “I am challenging everyone in the lightweight division for a fight.
“It’s been long and Ghanaians are expecting me to fight for the world championship. I’m hopeful that I will get the nod before the year ends.”
Much of that will depend on the fighter’s team, which includes promoter Lou DiBella’s DiBella Entertainment and adviser Peter Kahn. Conspicuously missing from that grouping is Tagoe’s long-time promoter, Baby Jet Promotions. BoxingAfrica.com was the first to break the news of their split, in a February 16 article (Read here: https://boxingafrica.com/2021/02/emmanuel-tagoe-parts-with-ways-with-asamoah-gyans-baby-jet-promotions/).
The letter of termination was all the talk of the Ghana boxing community, with rumors abound. Tagoe refutes claims of any misunderstanding between his camp and Baby Jet Promotions.
“The Gyan Family continues to be my family but we sat down and decided to part ways. We are still in good terms and we do talk a lot,” Tagoe told BoxingAfrica.com. “There was nothing in the letter that suggested that we were not in good terms. They are ready to support me whenever I have a fight and we are happy together. I want Ghanaians to appreciate what we have done for the sport and not the fact that we decided to part ways”
Despite the controversy, Tagoe has his sights set on the future, a future he believes will prove beneficial in and out of the ring—and would set an example for his compatriots.
“The focus is to get the best out of the sport even if I don’t become a champion. The aim is to have a decent accommodation and a business after my career so I can be able to help my family and friends,” Tagoe said.
“I want to urge Ghanaian fighters to continue training hard because that is the only way to achieve success. I believe with the right training, they will achieve something good in the sport.”