A hasty and confusing decision by a Beninois referee brought Ghana boxing on its knee Saturday night as fans took over the inner perimeter of the boxing ring with chairs and bottles to chase out the officials, assaulting others in the process.
Referee Adon Berti’s signal after WBO Africa Super Bantamweight champion Isaac Sackey was knocked out in Round Three sparked the violence.
The Bukom Boxing Arena was filled with anxiety and high expectations as the two undefeated national and WBO Africa Super Bantamweight boxers Isaac Sackey and Wasiwu Dzatabi Mohammed mounted the ring for the bout.
Isaac Sackey was defending his WBO Africa title with an unbeaten record in 23 fights whilst Wasiwu Dzatabi Mohammed was defending his relatively young boxing career of 11 straight wins.
The challenger went in towards the end of the opening round and caught the champion unaware but the effort was ruled out as a slip.
Round Two again saw Dzatabi dominating to the end and his fans loved every moment of it.
A hefty right punch from Dzatabi in less than one minute into the 3rd round sent the champion crashing onto the canvas.
Isaac Sackey got up swiftly unto his feet, but referee Adon Berti waved a KO without the mandatory eight counts.
He then attempted to show the champion his corner but was resisted by the boxer.
The boxer’s coach, Akai Nettey, jumped into the ring and violently pushed the referee in protest.
Within seconds, the ring was full of protestors leading to a free-for-all fight.
Chairs, tables, bottles and offensive weapons went up and crashing down on opposing fans, officials and others on sight.
It was unclear how dignitaries including the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) President, WBO Africa President and host of others found their way out of the arena.
Referee Adon Berti was, however, protected by two policemen and a former heavyweight boxer in the blue corner whilst the fight continued around him.
There was no formal declaration of results.
The fight left in its trail broken bottles, broken chairs, and severely damaged glass doors and windows at the sports hall.
It is not clear yet what decision will come from both the WBO Africa and GBA.
But one thing is clear that the bout ended prematurely and whatever decision is made would remain in dispute.