Boxing is no Cakewalk! Azumah ‘Ring Professor’ Nelson in the Social History of Ghanaian Boxing

Boxing is no Cakewalk! Azumah ‘Ring Professor’ Nelson in the Social History of Ghanaian Boxing
By De-Valera NYM Botchway
Size: 240 × 170 mm
Pages: 284 pp
ISBN 13: 978-1-920033-56-9
Published: June 2019
Publishers: NISC (Pty) Ltd for African Humanities Program
Recommended Retail Price: R 325.00
Cover: Paperback

About the book

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Boxing is no cakewalk! Azumah ‘Ring Professor’ Nelson in the Social History of Ghanaian Boxing explores the social history of boxing in Ghana and its interesting nexus with the biography of Azumah Nelson, unquestionably Ghana’s most celebrated boxer. The book posits that sports constitute more than mere games that people play. They are endowed with enormous political, cultural, economic and social power that can influence people’s lives in various ways. 
Boxing is no cakewalk! interrogates the social meaning and impact of boxing within the colonial and postcolonial milieux of popular culture in Ghana. Consequently, it reconsiders the prevailing conception of boxing as adversative to ‘enlightened’ human culture by arguing that it is a positive formulator of individual and national identities. The historicising of sports and the lives of sportspersons in Ghana provides an eloquent backdrop for an understanding of the past social dynamics and their effect in the present. 
The book’s analytical narrative offers an intellectual contribution to the promising areas of social and cultural history in Ghana’s historiography and the scholarly discourse on identity formation and social empowerment through the popular culture of sports.
Reviewer’s Comments

“Boxing is no cakewalk! Azumah ‘Ring Professor’ Nelson in the Social History of Ghanaian Boxing is a rich resource for knowing and understanding the social history not just of boxing in Ghana, but of boxing generally. I commend Professor Botchway for writing it.” – Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development & Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana

About the Authors

Professor Botchway is an Associate Professor of History (Africa and the African Diaspora) at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. His interest is in Black Religious and Cultural Nationalism(s), West Africa, Africans in Dispersion, African Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Sports (Boxing) in Ghana, Children in Popular Culture, World Civilisations, and Regionalism and Integration in Africa. 

He was a Fellow of the Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge, England (2006-2007), a Visiting Scholar at the University of South Florida (2010), a Visiting Professor at Grand Valley State University, Michigan (2012), and received the AHP Fellowship award (2013/2014) from the American Council of Learned Societies. In addition, he gained postdoctoral experience at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. He is a member of the Historical Society of Ghana.

Professor Botchway has authored books and several scholarly articles. These include “Fela ‘The Black President’ as Grist to the Mill of the Black Power Movement in Africa” in Black Diaspora Review (2014), “Was it a Nine Days Wonder? A Note on the Proselytisation Efforts of the Nation of Islam in Ghana, c.1980s–2010” (co-authored) in New Perspectives on the Nation of Islam (Routledge, 2017), and Africa and the First World War: Remembrance, Memories and Representations after 100 Years a co-edited anthology (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018).


Chapter 1:  Sports and modern boxing 
Chapter 2: Roots of modern boxing in Ghana 
Chapter 3:  Origins? ‘I am the son of my people’ 
Chapter 4:  The rise of the Azumah legend: The early years 
Chapter 5:  The legend continues: The glory years 
Chapter 6:  The beginning of the end: Retirement 
Chapter 7:  More than pain and passion: Azumah Nelson’s out-of-the-ring life 
Chapter 8:  Conclusions 

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