Richard Commey has been named goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Association of Ghana Commission for Women and Children Affairs (UNACWCA).
The former lightweight world champion signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UNACWCA, which is a subsidiary of the United Nations Association of Ghana (UNA-GH), during an unveiling ceremony at Impact Hub in Osu-Accra on Wednesday.
“I am ready to give back to society that has blessed me so much throughout my boxing career and this initiative is one of the various ways to champion that cause,” Commey said.
UNACWCA functions in Ghana with the mandate to promote gender equality, women empowerment, and children affairs as one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
Formed by UNA-GH, the fully independent commission has been tasked by the mother body to champion the influence of women empowerment and children affairs. It now does so in tandem with Commey, a role model to many young Ghanaians.
The announcement is part of a partnership agreement between UNACWCA and Streetwise Foundation. Launched by Streetwise Management—which manages Commey—Streetwise Foundation is a program endowing equipment to needy boxing gyms in Ghana.
“I don’t think I would be in the position to nurture his talent to this level if my mother, who trained me, and my siblings had rejected me,” said Streetwise founder Michael Amoo-Bediako.
“This is the reason why women must be treated with care and I believe this partnership will go a long way to help promote gender equality and offer help to children.”
National Head of UNACWCA, H.E Jemima Aggrey expects Commey to inspire the next generation of youth in his new role.
“Richard’s story is an inspirational one and with his decision to give back to society, we see this partnership as the best for both parties,” Aggrey told BoxingAfrica.com.
Commey, 32, grew up in Accra’s rough Bukom section. His natural gifts stood out as he studied karate and competed in international kickboxing tournaments. But like so many other African boxing legends who emerged from that tiny province, Commey found salvation in boxing.
It began in August 2010, when the UK-based Amoo-Bediako met Richard while vacationing in Ghana. Recognizing Commey’s potential, he guided him toward boxing and signed him to a managerial pact. With only 12 amateur bouts, Commey turned pro in 2011 and marched toward the top of the lightweight division.
“I believe telling my story will offer motivation to the young ones in deprived communities not to give up on their dreams,” Commey said. “Michael Amoo-Bediako saw the talent in me and made me who I am today. I am proud to be in the position to help others.”
Commey landed his first world title shot against heavy favorite Robert Easter Jr. in 2016. He barely lost a decision in what turned out to be a “Fight of the Year” candidate. Three years later, Commey knocked out Russia’s Isa Chaniev to capture the lightweight title and became Ghana’s ninth world champion.
“I am glad to see Commey agree to partner our body to influence the agenda of women empowerment and children affairs in Ghana and that will help us in achieving that target,” said H.E Bishop Peter Kojo Sackey, National President of UNA-GH.
“It is always good to tap into the success stories of athletes to empower the next generation and Commey’s rise to fame is no exception.”
Commey promises to lead by example. “I am aiming higher and I believe the only way to get people following in my footsteps is to continue achieving success. That is my focus now and I believe it is achievable.”