Victory : Fight Town


I was brought on as a contributing features writer for Doubleday & Cartwright’s Victory journal, a new and widely successful quarterly chronicling unique sports stories through a lens of high style and personal narration. Victory covers original lifestyle and sports culture in a propulsive, first-hand light. The challenge with each piece is to provide an insider’s guide for the dedicated sportsman as well as aspirational reportage for global tastemakers. Some of my Victory features include a profile of the rising Ghanaian boxer Malik “Bukom Snake” Jabir, as well as an on-the-ground feature covering the famed Argentine Boca Juniors’ youth football academy.


Fight Town

Riding the line between brutal exorcism and a poetic sublime, boxing has produced more legends than any other sport of the last century. The noble art, as it’s historically known, has also fed an enduring fascination with pugilism as being more than just a sum of its parts. A solo act, an intimate engagement, one of the purest demonstrations of man-versus-man, boxing is ultimately a complex dance whose multiple rhythms coalesce into a strange tango falling somewhere between the lethal and the divine.

In Ghana, boxing ranks second only to football in terms of national obsessions. In the small ocean-side fishing town of Bukom, an open-air boxing ring is situated within close reach of the local football pitch. Having already produced a wealth of hometown champions, Bukom has taken on the otherworldly dimensions of a mythological kingdom whose elegant warriors live, breathe and dream boxing. As the story goes, when a victor returns home after a win, the short twenty-minute journey from the capital of Accra can take as long as two hours once the locals turn out to escort their hero home. This is fight town. This is Bukom. This is myth becoming legend.

Beyond its borders, “the boxing university” has seen its fighters, most notably Azumah Nelson, gain celebrity status and even induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Bukom’s hierarchy of top contenders includes Alfred Kotey, Ike Quartey, Kwame Asante and Joshua Clottey, that latter of whom won the International Boxing Federation title by defeating Zab Judah in 2008. But there is also a next wave of new fighters turning local hero worship into a national badge of reckoning. One who aspires to join their illustrious ranks is Malik “Bukom Snake” Jabir.