Feature: What does the future hold for Bastie?

Author: Bernard Neequaye

I remember it like yesterday when he took just seven rounds to silence tough-talking Brimah Kamoko, alias Bukom Banku, in a one-sided fight on October 10, 2017, but Bastie Samir haven’t reached the heights people expected of him after that bout.

It was a historic night that left an indelible mark on the minds of Ghanaians, especially the colourful events that preceded the main bout at the Bukom Boxing Arena.

Bastie, alias The Beast, did not only defy all odds to beat a giant in Bukom Banku, but impressively ended a 29-bout undefeated run of an “almighty” fighter who usually won fights outside the ring through his utterances.

As usual, Bukom Banku had won the war of words during the build-up to the bout but lost in the ring in a fight I had tipped him to win considering his experience in the sport as compared to that of Bastie.

To my surprise, a well-prepared and disciplined Bastie threw series of combinations at his opponent which troubled Bukom Banku throughout the fight before securing himself a technical knockout victory on the night.

Sitting at ringside during the fight, I was surprised but impressed with Bastie’s performance and touted his achievement as needing the right handling to add a world title to the nation’s already rich history in boxing.

He was not new to me because of his participation in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in which he captained the nation’s  amateur boxing team, Black Bombers, but the way and manner in which he dispatched an unbeaten Bukom Banku was a delight to watch.

Strangely, two years after that unforgettable bout, Bastie’s career has stalled due to inactivity on his part. His only bout after Bukom Banku was a recent fight with Beninese Raoul Lokossou last February in which he earned a knockout victory.

In this case, I believe there are so many unanswered questions as to how Bastie could not leverage on an emphatic victory over Bukom Banku to attain greater heights in his career.

Truth be told, Bastie gained national and international recognition for his masterclass over a braggart who had excelled in the sport without any blemish locally but like I always say, it takes more than a talent to achieve one’s goal in life.

Yes, talent is essential but one needs discipline and attitude to compliment it to be successful.

Managerial Issues

I am not stating that Bastie was not disciplined; neither would I make a statement about his attitude because I respect him for his achievement in this pugilistic sport.

My only problem has to do with his failure to deal with the impending managerial issues that existed before and after the Bukom Banku win on time. This really affected his chances of making it to the top, especially when John Odamtten (manager) demanded compensation before allowing him to fight on subsequent cards.

Inasmuch as boxers and managers need each other to survive in this boxing business, the responsibilities attached to it remain important in attaining success. Whatever contributed to that managerial failure between the pair I think should have been sorted out long ago to allow the boxer’s career to progress.

As it stands now, he has lost several opportunities to climb the ladder of a world championship fight and feels bitter about the whole situation.

When I contacted him on why his career has dipped, Bastie blamed it on managerial issues which he said had affected his rise after his breakthrough fight with Bukom Banku.
“I had managerial issues which really affected me after making it big with the Bukom Banku fight. All my plans went in vain because we couldn’t reach an amicable agreement then.
“There were fights I had outside the country but couldn’t accept them because of my impending issues with John Odamtten,” Bastie recounted.

Career Struggles

With all these happenings, Bastie has a long way to go if his dream of adding his name to Ghana’s world titlist could be realised. This is because, his age does not favour him at this moment in his career.

At 32 years, Bastie has one of the toughest task of chasing his dream when he should be at the peak of his career instead but all hope is not lost if his new managers will have the financial clout to get him to the top by getting him credible bouts.

He is not ranked among the best in his division because he doesn’t hold a recognise belt from any of the four main sanctioning bodies namely the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO and his main focus must be to get hold of such titles before thinking of challenging for a world title.

Bastie’s inactivity in the ring is not helping his career and the earlier he returns to action, the better for him at this stage. At 32, it will be very difficult for him to climb the ladder of the sport but can take inspiration from the likes of compatriot Azumah Nelson, Bernard Hopkins, George Foreman, Roberto Duran and Evander Holyfield among others who became world champions at relatively old ages.

Azumah was 37 years when he defeated Gabe Ruelas to win the WBC Super Featherweight crown in 1995 but Hopkins remains the oldest world champion in boxing history after he snatched the IBF crown from Tavoris Cloud in March 2013.

The only difference between Bastie and these champions is that, they were fighting at the highest level at the time of winning their titles but the Ghanaian falls short in this area because he has fought four times in six years.

Nevertheless, I want to urge him on to work his way back to the top with the popular Accra Hearts of Oak slogan “Never say die until the bones are rotten” as his watchword. Come on Bastie, all hope is not lost!