On this day 13 June 2004 (Exactly 15 years ago) Ghana’s Azumah Nelson, widely considered the greatest African boxer of all time was inducted in to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The International Boxing Hall of Fame’s rolls swelled to 285 members with the induction of the 15-member Class of 2004.
Former world featherweight and super featherweight champ, Azumah Nelson, was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, as more than 2,000 boxing fans looked on.
A six-member presidential delegation from Ghana attended the ceremony to watch Nelson’s induction, which he called “the greatest moment in the history in the saga of African boxing.”
The soft-spoken Nelson thanked the people and the government of Ghana for helping him go from an unknown who stepped into the ring with Hall of Famer Salvador Sanchez as a late replacement on the card and battled valiantly before losing in the 15th round, to a champion at the world welterweight and super featherweight levels.
“To all who helped me from the beginning of my career … there are too many to list. At the appropriate time, I will write them all in the history of my life.”
The 2004 induction class included light heavyweight Dwight Muhammad Qawi of the United States, Former welterweight champion Carlos Palomino and bantamweight Daniel Zaragoza of Mexico. Also enshrined were promoter J. Russell Peltz and South African referee Stanley Christodoulou.
On this day 13 June 2009 (Exactly 10 years ago) Miguel Cotto gave thousands of his cheering fans exactly what they hoped for on the eve of the national Puerto Rican Day parade.
Overcoming an early cut from an accidental headbutt and several brutal rounds from Joshua Clottey, the gutsy Cotto fought to a narrow split decision inside a packed Madison Square Garden, retaining his WBO welterweight title.
With blood pouring down his face from the fourth round on, the pride of Caguas and the roughly 800,000 New Yorkers who trace their roots to his island nation threw his arms up at the end of a close and exhilarating bout that left both fighters battered.
Referee Don Trella scored the fight 116-111 and John McKaie 115-112, both for Cotto, while Tom Miller had it 114-113 for Clottey. The Associated Press scored it 116-112 for Cotto.
“The cut made me fight harder,” Cotto said, “but I felt like I was winning all the way.”
Clottey was so devastated by the narrow loss that he screamed after the decision, “Oh no! This can’t happen.” Then he went to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and said, “That’s it, I quit, I’m done with boxing. I can’t take it anymore.”
Arum told Clottey that he fought “a magnificent fight and you have to continue.”
Cotto doesn’t exude the same kind of charisma of the great Puerto Rican fighters who came before him, champions such as Wilfredo Gomez and Felix Trinidad. But the soft-spoken Cotto still has a certain charm that seems to endear him to the 17,734 who poured out in support.
The Garden was filled more than two hours before his fight was scheduled to go off, the red, white and blue flags flying above the multicolored seats of this mecca of boxing. Scrawled across one flag a few rows from the ring were the words “Cotto IS Puerto Rico.”
Cotto got the fight going at his pace early, keeping his distance and trying to stay away from Clottey’s signature body shots. Near the end of the first round, the champion landed a quick right hook that sent Clottey to the floor — a rare occurrence.
The Ghana native never appeared hurt, and the two spent most of the next two rounds jabbing at each other. With seconds to go in the third, though, Clottey trapped Cotto against the ropes and they clashed heads, opening a deep gash along the champion’s left brow line. Blood dripped immediately, and referee Arthur Mercante Jr. gave the ringside physician a few extra moments to examine the cut before the two came out for the fourth round.
“It got worse in the ninth and 10th rounds,” physician Anthony Curreri said. “It started bleeding a lot more, but at the beginning of the round he’d go out every time and it’d be dry. But I’d tell him, ‘We’ll see how it goes.’ “
With chants of “Cotto, Cotto” reverberating through the Garden, the gritty Puerto Rican wiped the blood from his eye and kept up the attack.
“Guts, just guts” Arum said. “He could have taken the easy way out, because early on he was clearly ahead on points.”
Cotto came out strong in the fifth round, and the two wound up boxing into the corner. When Cotto dove in to wrap his arms around Clottey, he spun him around and Clottey ended up falling face-first on the canvas, where he writhed for several minutes as Cotto stood calmly in a neutral corner.
The ringside doctor said Clottey hurt his right knee, and he seemed to be favoring it as he walked around. But after jogging and bouncing in place, Clottey elected to continue.
Perhaps still favoring the knee, Cotto hand a big sixth round, trapping the challenger in the corner and forcing Mercante to yell “Josh, defend yourself!”
Clottey stopped pressing the action in the ninth round, though, even though he’s considered an aggressive fighter. Whether it was the injury to his knee or simply a reluctance to go after a battered champion who also spent several rounds backing up, Clottey seemingly refused to attack, allowing Cotto to assert his immeasurable will during the championship rounds.
“They robbed me,” Clottey said. “The winner of the fight is the one who’s supposed to be fighting hardest. He was running and I was chasing. I threw the hardest punches. People said I’d lose the decision if it went to a decision, and it did. They robbed me.”
On this day 13 June 2010 (Exactly 9 years ago) An 85th-minute penalty from Asamoah Gyan ensured Ghana began their 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign with victory against 10-man Serbia.
The striker converted emphatically from the spot when Serbia substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic was penalised for handball attempting to clear a dangerous cross.
Raddy Antic’s side had struggled to contain Ghana’s dominance in midfield and their task was made even more perilous when defender Aleksandar Lukovic was red carded for his second bookable offence in the 74th minute.
The four-time African champions had dominated large stretches of the game, creating sufficient opportunities to win by a greater margin than the scoreline suggested.
Serbia boss Raddy Antic named his strongest starting XI following Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic’s return from illness.
Meanwhile, Ghana manager Milovan Rajevac, a Serb, omitted European Cup-winning midfielder Sulley Muntari in midfield, while Kevin-Prince Boateng, who represented Germany under-21s, lined up for only his second appearance in a Black Stars shirt.
Despite the lack of clear-cut first-half chances, the first 45 minutes were played at a rapid tempo as both sides displayed slick passing moves, albeit without the crucial addition of a quality final ball.
Ghana created the first genuine opportunity of the match when a stinging goalbound left-foot strike by Kwadwo Asamoah was deflected wide by the sprawling right leg of striker Nikola Zigic, while John Mensah and Asamoah Gyan failed to capitalise on half-chances shortly after.
Serbia’s best opportunity came from a set-piece when Aleksandar Kolarov’s superbly struck 30-yard left-footed free-kick curled past the left-hand post.
Ghana once again dictated the tempo at the start of the second half, with Andre Ayew miscuing a header wide with his marker Vidic well beaten.
Gyan went even closer soon after when he leapt elegantly to meet John Pantsil’s long throw into the 18-yard box, only for his powerful six-yard header to skim the outside of Vladmir Stokjovic’s left-hand post.
Although Serbia were not without their chances – a Marko Pantelic cross was well blocked by Isaac Vorsah with Zigic lurking – Antic’s side showed little attacking threat in the final third.
And Serbia were forced to endure a nervous final 15 minutes when Lukovic was sent off for a second bookable offence when he held back Gyan on the half-way line.
However, Richard Kingson produced a fine stop to deny Milos Krasic when the CSKA Moscow midfielder fired a stinging 12-yard strike straight at the keeper following an enterprising left-wing run from Pantelic.
But Ghana eventually made their dominance count when Kuzmanovic inexplicably left his arm lingering when attempting to head clear a dangerous cross, allowing Gyan the opportunity to step up and wrong-foot goalkeeper Stokjovic with a powerful penalty.
The then Rennes striker almost added a second in injury time when his curling shot struck the post with Stokjovic beaten.
Ghana Line-up : 22-Richard Kingson; 4-John Pantsil, 5-John Mensah, 15-Isaac Vorsah, 2-Hans Sarpei, 6-Anthony Annan, 21-Kwadwo Asamoah (10-Stephen Appiah 73), 13-Dede Ayew, 23-Kevin-Prince Boateng (19-Lee Addy 90+1); 3-Asamoah Gyan (20-Quincy Owusu-Abeyie 90+3), 12-Prince Tagoe.
Serbia Line-up : 1-Vladimir Stojkovic; 6-Branislav Ivanovic, 5-Nemanja Vidic, 13-Aleksandar Lukovic, 3-Aleksandar Kolarov, 17-Milos Krasic, 10-Dejan Stankovic, 11-Nenad Milijas (22-Zdravko Kuzmanovic 62) 14-Milan Jovanovic (20-Neven Subotic 76), 15-Nikola Zigic (8-Danko Lazovic 69), 9-Marko Pantelic.
On this day 13 June 1956 (Exactly 63 years ago) Héctor Rial scored twice as Real Madrid beat Stade de Reims, 4-3 to claim the inaugural European Cup title.
Staged at the Parc des Princes in Paris, the first European Cup final was a wonderful occasion and was considered a real step forward for the sport. The match didn’t take long to catch fire with Michel LeBlond giving the French side the lead after just six minutes before Jean Templin doubled their advantage just four minutes later. The iconic Alfredo di Stefano equalised on 14 minutes much to the delight of the travelling Spanish fans. He went on to score in five successive European Cup finals and was considered “a true titan” of the game.
Hector Rial netted twice, one either side of the break, to put his side back level before Marquitos’ 67th-minute strike gave Real Madrid a narrow advantage. Managed by Jose Villalonga Llorente, they managed to prevent their French opponents from finding a way back into the game to lift the first-ever European Cup in front of 38,000 spectators.
It was the start of Los Blancos’ dominance in this competition and they went on to chalk up five consecutive successes in the European Cup. In 2018, they continued to set records by clinching their 13th European Cup success whilst also becoming the first team to win three titles in a row since the change of format in 1993.
Journalist Antoine Blondin wrote about the final in French newspaper L’EQUIPE and penned a rather poetic review of the occasion. He said “it is always rather moving to witness the birth of a tradition” before going on to add “The other evening, there was something of a nativity at the Parc des Princes where, under a starry sky, football’s first European Cup was glimpsed by 40,000 wise men…”
The game was a suitable finale to a hugely successful first staging of the competition which yielded a total of 127 goals throughout the tournament. Crowds averaged around 28,000 and UEFA were understandably keen to continue with the same format the following year. The second edition of the European Cup included teams from England, Bulgaria, Turkey and Luxembourg.
Four years later, in Stuttgart, Real Madrid beat Stade de Reims for the second time in a European Cup Final but it was far simpler this time around. Alfredo di Stefano got on the scoresheet once again during a fairly straightforward 2-0 success.
On this day 13 June 2018 (Exactly a year ago) FIFA Congress voted to award 2026 World Cup to joint bid by US, Canada & Mexico
The ‘United 2026’ bid was selected by Fifa member nations, winning 134 votes compared to 65 for Morocco.
The 2026 tournament will be the biggest World Cup ever held – with 48 teams playing 80 matches over 34 days.
“Football is the only victor. We are all united in football,” US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said.
“Thank you so, so much for this incredible honour. Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege
Of the 211 Fifa member nations, 200 cast a vote at the 68th Fifa Congress in Moscow with the winning bid needing a majority of 104
On this day 13 June 2018 (Exactly a year ago) The Spanish Football Association sacked coach Julen Lopetegui just 2 days out from their first World Cup game after he agreed to manage Real Madrid
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) said it had dismissed the 51-year-old because the negotiation occurred “without any information to the RFEF”.
Spain sporting director Fernando Hierro took charge for the World Cup.
RFEF president Luis Rubiales, who was told of Lopetegui’s new role with Real five minutes before it was announced, said he had found himself in “a very difficult situation”.
“I know there’s going to be criticism whatever I do,” he added.
“I’m sure this will, in time, make us stronger. I admire Julen very much, I respect him very much. He seems a top trainer and that makes it harder to make the decision.
“You can’t do things this way, two or three days before the World Cup. We have been compelled to make this decision.”
BY: GEORGE ‘Alan Green’ MAHAMAH
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