Renowned Ghanaian boxing trainer Godwin Nii Dzanie passed away from a bout of Typhoid fever last Saturday. The trainer, who was more affectionately known as “Coach Alloway”, had been battling the sickness for the past three months. While most readers may not recognize Coach Alloway by name, they will probably be acquainted with the charges he led into the ring, which included names like Joshua Clottey, Joseph Agbeko and hall-of-famer Azumah Nelson.
The best known of his active charges is Joshua Clottey, who first appeared on the boxing radar when he beat the late Diego Corrales back in 2007 in a bout he was expected to lose. Clottey would go on to best Zab Judah, but fell short when he made the step up in competition, principally against Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. In both contests, however, Clottey made respectable showings, and could have even been successful in the Pacquiao bout had he not shelled up the entire fight. None of the punches from the Filipino fighter appeared to have effect on Clottey, and he even caused a significant swelling under both of Pacquiao’s eyes.
Not present in the corner that night was Coach Alloway, who was denied a visa to the US shortly before the bout. Clottey attributed much of his performance to the trainer’s absence, and gave the same reason for his most recent loss to Gabriel Rosado last December on the Bryant Jennings vs. Luis Ortiz Undercard.
"His absence from my fight was one of the main reasons why I couldn't win. I won the first four rounds and only needed Coach Alloway's voice to tell me to change my strategy," Clottey said in an interview. The 39-5 boxer also believed that Typhoid wasn’t the cause of death for his late trainer.
“I don’t think it was Typhoid fever that killed him, there might be more to it like spiritual something. Typhoid is curable, but his was something that we couldn’t help it,” said Clottey. “He would go the hospital and doctors would discharge him after sometime, but immediately he gets home the disease will recur. I even made attempt to secure him a visa to USA to be at my corner for a bout so that I could get him medical treatment overseas, but I realized he couldn’t walk due to the sickness, so I couldn’t proceed. It is a sad story that someone out of hatred could plot a hero’s downfall for no reason.”
In later interviews, Clottey went on to say that he might even leave the sport given his beloved trainer’s recent departure, despite having a five-win winning streak before his most recent loss to Rosado.
“It was very sad after heard that my trainer has died,” Clottey told Asempa FM’s Sports Avenue 2. “I feel very safe and determined whenever he sat in my corner. It’s going to affect my boxing career. I might consider quitting boxing any moment from now.”
In total, Coach Alloway spent a total of nearly four decades working in the sport of boxing and was acting President of the United Coached Association of Ghana. Not much has been reported on his passing, even less about his accomplishments while he was alive. His death will likely go unnoticed in the boxing world, but that is a shame given the pugilistic talents that have come out of Ghana and his involvement in producing some of those talents. It’s clear that the country has a strong fighting tradition, and anytime a prominent figure from the boxing community moves onto the next life, an acknowledgment should be made. So here we make an acknowledgment to Coach Alloway, to say that he will be missed and not forgotten.
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